YOUNGSTERS have launched an alternative Christmas postal service for islanders.

Around 70 beavers, cubs, scouts and explorers from the 5th Island Air Scout Group will be busy sorting and delivering cards for residents and businesses on Canvey over the festive period.

They will charge 25p for each card.

Money raised will be ploughed back into the group.

Kate Ferris, assistant cub leader, said: “It’s certainly a cheaper alternative than what is around, and hopefully residents and businesses can help to support us at the same time.

“It’s a really good scheme, and gets all of our beavers, cubs, scouts and explorers involved as it’s quite a busy operation getting everything sorted.

“It gets them helping in the community, and hopefully we can get some help back from Canvey on this too.”

Mrs Ferris said this is the third time the group has run the initiative.

She added: "We’ve delivered hundreds of cards in each of the previous years, and are hoping for a similarly strong response this time around.

“Members of the group pay their subscription fees, but to we do need to fundraise in order to pay for trips we do and things such as camping trips and equipment."

Anyone interested in using the postal should should take their cards to Lakeview Hall, at Winter Gardens Academy, in Hilton Road, between 6pm and 9pm.

They can also drop them off at St Nicholas Church, in Long Road, at any time.

The deadline is Sunday, December 13.

The group, based at Lakeview Hall, meets every Thursday.