The Box Youth Project was established in 2002 by local residents wanting to provide young people with fun activities that enhance their personal and social development.
The project is based in South Sunderland on the edge of an estate that has been gradually regenerated over recent years. Many parents are working, however they work long hours in low paid jobs and a lot of the young people who attend the project have had to look after themselves from a young age.
Through its outreach work, The Box Youth Project engages with young people who have left school, often with few qualifications.
Young people attend The Box Youth Project for activities, peer education, career and employability support.
The Foundation awarded a grant of £42,494 to the Project to help young people into employment, including people like Arthur.
Arthur is 17 years old. He left school with some qualifications but was unable to pass GCSE English or Maths.
He went into an apprenticeship after leaving school, however after four months his employment was terminated. Arthur’s family circumstances were less than ideal and this contributed to him losing his job.
When Arthur came to The Box Youth Project he had very low self-esteem and felt deeply ashamed that he had been sacked. He lived with his mother, an alcoholic and her boyfriend who had a history of violence and was regularly threatening Arthur.
His twin sister, for whom he had been a carer, had made a number of attempts to commit suicide and had recently been sectioned. Arthur was worried about the welfare of his sister who was also awaiting trial for several offences and was expecting a custodial sentence. Furthermore he had only recently discovered his birth father and had been drawn into substance and alcohol misuse in an attempt to live up to his birth father's expectations and to be accepted by him.
The Box Youth Project worked with Arthur over an eight week period, during which time he was set tasks and given responsibilities aimed at improving his self-confidence. Workers spent time listening to him, giving him the time he needed to talk through the issues that were bothering him and which prevented him from applying for another job. They arranged a meeting with the family’s social worker in an attempt to get him additional support and took him to college to find out about resitting Maths and English.
He was also given an opportunity to volunteer at the project, undertaking basic administrative tasks. Workers supported him to explore opportunities for other apprenticeship programmes while he worked hard to improve his interview techniques.
Arthur has now been accepted as an apprentice in a care home. He will continue to attend college and work towards gaining his Maths and English qualifications. Arthur still receives regular support from staff at The Box Youth Project to help him cope with his situation at home.
Denise Barna, Youth Development Worker said;
“We were absolutely delighted to receive the grant as it will make a huge difference to the number of young people we are able to help and the quality of support we are able to provide.”
You can find out more about The Box Youth Project via their website.
NB: Names have been changed to protect the individuals concerned.