UKSE

UK Steel Enterprise is helping to fund an exciting mentoring project that works with disadvantaged young people in Hartlepool.

A £2,500 contribution from the Tata Steel business-support subsidiary’s Community Support Fund will back the project run by Changing Futures North East for a year. It will help eight young people, aged from 5 to 18, and a referral process ensures that the project engages with young people who are the hardest to reach.

The UK Steel Enterprise funds will help with transport, group materials and resources, catering and prizes to recognise positive changes.

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

“We have a great team of local volunteer mentors who come from a range of backgrounds. They are carefully selected and trained and are an invaluable part of this project as they become trusted adults and can make a really big difference to a young person.”

In Hartlepool 4.2% of school age children have an attendance rate of less than 85% and the town also has a significantly higher than average percentage of young people who are regular drinkers. Child poverty is 33% compared to a national average of 21% and there is a high reliance on social care.

The mentoring project aims to help young people overcome difficult social or economic circumstances. It covers topics from managing anger to building self-confidence, develops life and work skills, sets targets and celebrates positive changes with the aim of improving school attendances and health, encouraging positive choices and reducing anti social behaviours.

“The UK Steel Enterprise contribution is so welcome,” said Jess Watson. “Last year Changing Futures helped around 350 people and support from business organisations such as UKSE is a massive help.”

The relationship-focused charity was set up by local parents in Hartlepool in 1997 and has grown steadily. It believes that healthy relationships are a source of tremendous strength with the potential to protect families and children from problems that can escalate.

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. That benefits not only them but employers, the town and the region. We are very happy that we could help and wish the group every success.”

PICTURE CAPTION: Peter Taylor (left) of supporter UK Steel Enterprise and Jess Watson ((front right) of Changing Futures with some of the mentors and young people taking part in the mentoring project in Hartlepool.

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