A CHARITY set up by a construction firm to nurture the talent of the region’s young people has been officially launched.
The Gus Robinson Foundation supports young people on the pathway to successful careers in engineering, academic studies or sports.
The charity has been established in memory of the building firm’s founder Gus Robinson, who died in November 2011.
Although it has been working with young people at Hartlepool College of Further Education for more than a year, the Foundation was only recently granted charitable status and was officially launched at the college in front of a delegation of the region’s top businesses and organisations.
Gus’s son Dan, who is now chairman of Gus Robinson Developments, said his father was an inspiration to everyone he met.
“I think everyone who knew my dad remembers him as a larger than life character with an infectious personality,” said Dan.
“But he was passionate about giving young people a chance, particularly if they were from backgrounds which hadn’t given them the best start in life.
“We knew we had to continue that legacy in his memory and decided a charitable foundation would be the perfect framework to build on his ethos, which was all about investing in talented young people and giving them the skills and support they need to have long and fulfilling careers.
“We have put a call out to business owners to come forward and help support the Foundation and have had a magnificent response so far.”
First to back the Gus Robinson Foundation was Northgate Public Services who donated a cheque for £10,000 at the launch event.
Joe Bradley, executive director for Northgate Public Services, said: “We are proud to be supporting the local community by giving £10,000 to the Foundation so that future generations can benefit from extra opportunities to study and develop their skills.
“In supporting the young people of Hartlepool, we will also help to increase their prospects of employment and be able to contribute to boosting the town’s economy through valuable relationships with the Foundation, the college and the local council.”
The Gus Robinson Foundation will award scholarships in partnership with the college including Apprentice of the Year and Sporting Achievement.
Young people studying on the college’s aerospace engineering course will also be recognised with cadetships, something of particular interest to Dan Robinson, who spent many years as a fighter pilot in both the RAF and US Air Force.
The Foundation has also formed a partnership with Durham University to fund a bursary for students, to help with their living costs while attending the world famous establishment.
The Sporting Achievement award will be presented in conjunction with the Hartlepool Sporting Association (HSA) and recognises the role sport plays in contributing to health, wellbeing, the economy and environment.
Dan added: “Sporting achievement can contribute to urban regeneration by modernising an area’s image and improving self-esteem. The benefits of sport are often intangible but their effects can be truly substantial.
“Again, that’s something my dad believed passionately in by setting up his boxing gym and managing many local boxers to successful and rewarding careers.”
For more information about the Foundation, visit www.gusrobinson.com or call (01429) 234221.