CHILDREN are being encouraged to join in a community event aimed at sprucing up their town.

And youngsters who take part will be treated to a free ice cream, along with a pie and a soft drink, to thank them for their efforts.

Darlington Cares has staged ten successful “Pick, Pie and Pint” events already this year, with those taking part being rewarded with a pie and a pint at the Hole in the Wall pub in the market square.

Now, a special kids’ version – replacing the pint with a soft drink – is to be held on August 9, with the Cornmill Centre as main sponsor.

Young participants will also be treated to a free ice cream from a vintage tricycle, courtesy of Ultrasound Events.

Chelsea Johnson, Darlington Cares programme officer, said: “It’s great to get the younger generation involved in caring for the environment as soon as possible, and we had a great response when we staged a kids’ event last year.

“We’ve discovered that people are much less likely to drop litter when they see volunteers picking it up, so we want as many kids as possible to come along. Mums and dads are welcome too.”

Paul Ferry, owner of Ultrasound Events, said: “I came along with the tricycle last year and sold ice creams but it was such a great community event, with people of all ages turning up to help, that I decided to provide ice creams for free this year. It’s the least I can do.”

Marketing Manager of the Cornmill Shopping Centre, Kelly Hutchinson, said: “We can’t wait to be part of Darlington Cares’ Pick, Pie and a Pint event. It’s a fantastic event which brings likeminded people together and gives something back to our community.”

Kelly added: “The residents of Darlington have shown dedication and enthusiasm by volunteering to keep our town tidy, and we’re honoured to be sponsoring a great day and hope it’s a big success.”

Those wanting to take part are asked to email or telephone 01325 406420.

The August 9 event starts at 4pm, with participants gathering outside the Dolphin Centre.

Two more Pick, Pie and Pint events will be staged later this year: EE is sponsoring the event on September 6, and DBS is the sponsor on October 4.