STUDENTS took to the streets to hand out free tea and coffee to prove community spirit is alive and well.

The Catapult Theatre Company – a group of students at the East 15 Acting School at Essex University’s Southend Campus – put on the tea party in York Road.

Kim Tate, Jane Feldberg, Dale Curran, Dan Bickersteth, and Anna Freedman, all live in the area and wanted to get to know their neighbours – as well as have fun and work on a project for their course.

They started at the High Street end of the road and made their way – with balloons and songs – along to Southchurch Hall Gardens.

As well as using the walk to unite the community, the group also recruited York Road residents to take part in a workshop with the company, before an eventual performance of a play about the community.

Jane said: “It was quite hard because it was a cold day, but then that made people really want a hot cup of tea.

“Some people wanted to avoid us, some spoke to us and some wanted to get involved in our project. Some people were suspicious, asking if they had to pay.

“There was one older woman who came up to us and said she had always wanted to do something like this and was really glad we had.”

She added: “We’re going to work for ten to 12 weeks and we will put on a performance in June. At least five people we spoke to wanted to get involved.”

Workshops before the performance of a play made by and for the people of York Road begin at the Clifftown Theatre, in Nelson Mews, Southend, on Wednesday, March 5 at 6.30pm. All are welcome.