Hartlepool project which helps hundreds each year wins cash boost

Peter Taylor, left, and Jess Watson, front right, with mentors and young people taking part in the project.
Peter Taylor, left, and Jess Watson, front right, with mentors and young people taking part in the project.

An award-winning Hartlepool project has won a cash boost to support its work with disadvantaged young people.

Changing Futures North East has secured a £2,500 contribution from UK Steel Enterprise (UKSE) which is backing the town scheme for a year.

Last year Changing Futures helped around 350 people and support from business organisations such as UKSE is a massive help

Jess Watson

It will help eight young people, aged 5 to 18, and will also support a referral process which ensures engagement with young people who are the hardest to reach.

The funds will help with transport, group materials and resources, catering and with prizes which will be given to recognise positive changes.

Jess Watson is the organiser at Changing Futures North East and said the contribution was “so welcome”.

She added: “Last year Changing Futures helped around 350 people and support from business organisations such as UKSE is a massive help.

“It is all about helping them to build resilience, develop skills, recognise their potential, set goals and manage their feelings. They can be struggling with anything from low self-esteem and anxiety to challenging behaviours and education difficulties.”

In Hartlepool, the town has 4.2% of school age children with an attendance rate of less than 85%, and a significantly higher than average percentage of young people who are regular drinkers. Child poverty is 33% compared to a national average of 21%.

The mentoring project helps young people overcome difficult social or economic circumstances. It covers managing anger to building self-confidence.

It develops life and work skills, sets targets and celebrates positive changes. The aim is to improve school attendances, health and reduce anti-social behaviour.

Changing Futures won the Hartlepool Mail-backed Community category in the Hartlepool Business Awards in 2016.

Peter Taylor, UK Steel Enterprise’s business development manager, said: “UKSE supports growing businesses with investments and premises but we also have a Community Support Fund that aims to improve the quality of life for people living in our steel areas.

“The Changing Futures mentoring project is a great idea that helps Hartlepool’s young people on the road to a better future.”