Plans for Hartlepool students to take part in German exchange

Hartlepool Civic Centre.
Hartlepool Civic Centre.

PLANS for Hartlepool students to take part in an exchange programme with German youngsters could become a reality.

Hartlepool Borough Council is considering the prospect for the local authority to develop a youth exchange in partnership with Huckelhoven, in Germany, using funding from the European Commission’s Erasmus + programme.

Huckelhoven is Hartlepool’s twin town and in December 2013, after a visit by the leader of the council Christopher Akers-Belcher and other civic leaders, officers have been exploring what external funding is available to enable the two towns to work more closely.

That led to this new project being developed, with the exchanges taking place between January and March 2015, subject to securing European funding.

Councillors sitting on the regeneration services committee will discuss the plans at a meeting on Thursday at 9.30am in the Civic Centre, Victoria Road.

Senior officers say it will give the youngsters the chance to improve their personal, social and employability skills and help build links with Huckelhoven.

A report by Damien Wilson, assistant director of regeneration, said: “It is proposed that a youth exchange project is developed between Hartlepool and Huckelhoven.

“The project will be targeted to those young people from the most disadvantaged areas to provide them with new opportunities which will increase their personal, social and employability skills.

“This proposed project would be for 60 young people, 30 from Hartlepool and 30 from Huckelhoven, who are in Years 9 to 12.

“The young people will be selected from a range of partners including schools, colleges and youth centres.

“Each exchange will last for five days, excluding travel, with the activities and itinerary being designed by the young people from each country but as a minimum will include visits to key businesses and sports competitions.”

Officials hope the project will be funded through the European Commission’s Erasmus + Programme 2014-2020, which offers education, training, youth and sport opportunities across Europe.

The application needs to be done by the end of April and if successful work would start in September to promote the exchange to young people in Hartlepool and Huckelhoven through schools, colleges and youth centres.