Pennywell Youth Project is very much part of the local community. The centre is open seven days a week, offering a safe space for young people to learn new skills, get involved in developing services and enjoy themselves. It hosts drop-in sessions as well as education programmes and, on evenings and weekends, gives young people somewhere to meet and take part in structured activities.
Pennywell Youth Project received one of the first Virgin Money Foundation grants to deliver the Pathways Project. The Pathways Project works to develop the emotional resilience of young people through one-to-one work while improving their employability skills. It includes a six week work placement to give young people the experience of a real working environment, and the opportunity to prove themselves to prospective employers. During 2016 the Pathways Project supported 152 young people, 41 of whom have secured and maintained employment.
During 2016 Pennywell Youth Project supported Robbie* in building his confidence and securing an apprenticeship. Robbie left school with very low grades due to behavioural problems and low attendance. He accessed the Pathways Project to receive help in identifying suitable opportunities. The project helped Robbie to identify skills he didn’t realise he had and created an action plan focusing on his strengths. Robbie joined the employability skills course, completing a level 1 diploma qualification and working to improve his maths and English. By working on his communication skills Robbie gained confidence, learned how to complete application forms and practised interview techniques.
Robbie now has an apprenticeship with a local manufacturing company and is flourishing.
Pennywell Youth Project has received a second grant through the 2016 North East Fund and will continue to run the Pathways Project with young people in Sunderland throughout 2017.*Names have been changed to protect the individual concerned.