A PEEBLESSHIRE youth group has featured in a national radio programme talking about the importance of fresh, locally-sourced food.

Food Punks, which is part of the Tweeddale Youth Action group, offers young people in and around Peebles the chance to learn how to cook food from scratch using local produce.

And on February 27, members appeared on The Food Programme on BBC Radio 4.

The ‘chef-led project’ gives young people the space to learn new skills which they might not access at school.

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Jocelyn Ferguson, who works with Tweeddale Youth Action, said on the programme titled Scotland, a Good Food Nation?: “There’s a lack of opportunities definitely in the Borders.

“And this [Food Punks] is really good for people who don’t enjoy being in school.

“This is a different chance for them to learn something in a different environment.”

Speaking with the Peeblesshire News, Stuart Clink who is the business development officer with Tweeddale Youth Action said: “It was just incredible to hear these young people on national radio.

“If you heard these guys talking, they’re talking about fresh food.

“They’re here making all of this amazing food.”

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He added: “They [young people] get a vegetable, they’re looking at it, they’ve got no idea what it is.

“We work with it, and do bits and bobs, and they turn it into this amazing dish.”

Food Punks runs a lunchtime catering service where young people prepare a menu of meals each week, and they also attend local events providing catering.

Mr Clink said: “The young people that we’ve got coming here, you couldn’t meet a nicer bunch of people.

“They’re coming in here, we’ve got music on, the consoles on, we’ve got food – it’s just a nice environment where young people can come and feel safe.

“There’s a need for an organisation like us to be there for young people that are not going to school.

“They’re maybe not academic but it doesn’t mean that they don’t have practical skills.

“So, they can come here, they’re learning how to cook.

“And not only that, they’re learning how to socialise, it’s more than just cooking, it’s an environment where they can come and it’s real, it’s a reality this.

“If we can support them and give them some help and some confidence to go into the big, wide world, it might help them get a job.”