Nearly 1,000 young people across the North East are set to benefit from an ambitious new alliance focused on developing their skills, aspirations and independence.
North east charity Keyfund has signed up to a new strategic alliance with social landlord Isos Housing, to engage with young people in the communities where Isos is most active.
Keyfund will oversee the delivery of a programme worth more than £100,000 this year, targeted to benefit the postcode areas where Isos properties can be found across the region.
The aim is to help young people to lead successful lives, through the four stage Keyfund programme, which sees the completion of challenges requiring planning, commitment and inspiration.
Challenges taken on by past Keyfund ‘graduates’ include launching a T-shirt business, doing an underwater litter pick, sending hundreds of football boots to Africa, making a sculpture, recording an album, and even kayaking around the British Isles.
Keyfund has 20 years’ experience in this type of work, and helps 3,500 young people every year to achieve their dreams.
Many of the neighbourhoods where Isos residents live are disadvantaged, with high levels of unemployment – and one of the most challenging issues to tackle in these communities is empowering young people to believe in themselves, and work toward achieving their ambitions.
But now with Keyfund and Isos working in a long-term partnership, the aim is to help young people to believe in their abilities and their potential to create their own success and make a positive contribution to society.
Keith Loraine, chief executive of Isos, said: “This is a hugely exciting initiative for Isos, and we are really looking forward to seeing young people develop through the Keyfund programme, and deliver projects in the communities we serve.
“We are a social landlord, and that means doing more than just build and maintain properties – we want to deliver real change on the ground, and help all our residents, young and old, to lead successful lives.
“We see massive potential in working alongside Keyfund – our two organisations have a lot in common already in our commitment to young people, our values and our geographical reach.”
The strategic alliance between Isos and Keyfund will see the charity housed free of charge in an Isos office building on Balliol Business Park in North Tyneside and to benefit from the hi-tech Isos IT network.
This will provide a stable base for Keyfund to develop its work with young people, in the knowledge that a significant portion of its running costs are covered.
Hannah Underwood, chief executive of Keyfund, said: “We are delighted to build this strategic alliance with Isos so we can benefit more young people living in Isos communities”.
Keyfund will work in Isos communities across the region. Keyfund participants can be aged from 11-25, and they are encouraged and supported to ‘think, plan, do and review’. Their small projects should be based entirely on their own dreams and ideas.
Keyfund uses a ‘skills wheel’ so participants can track their personal development progress in 12 core skills, through the four stages of Keyfund.
The four young people pictured – Aaron, Zach, Connor and Robert – belong to a Keyfund group called BMX Lads from Walker, Newcastle.
For their Stage Three project, they are organising a two-day residential trip to the UK’s biggest indoor skate park, called Ramp Works, near Liverpool.
This follows a Stage One project where the lads visited Silksworth skate park in Sunderland, and they also designed a tool box for bike maintenance, and organised a bike maintenance workshop to help other young people maintain and repair their own bikes and scooters.
For Stage Two, the lads went on an overnight residential to a skate park in Glasgow called Unit 21. They worked out costs and the two-day event cost around £900. They organised fundraising events such as raffles, including securing £50 of swimming vouchers from Wet’N’Wild. Before the trip to Glasgow, the majority of the group had never been outside the Tyne and Wear area.
The skills the young people have developed include dealing with people in authority, negotiation, time management, and decision-making.
For more information, go to: www.keyfund.org.uk