Young people in Hartlepool have been given the chance to start a career in catering, hospitality or business thanks to a local charity and £2,500 from UK Steel Enterprise's Community Support Fund.
Families First North East supports children and young people, particularly those who have additional needs, with a range of activities and opportunities and this latest project is based at the charitys One 77 Bistro on the town's York Road.
The funding from UKSE, the Tata Steel business-support subsidiary, means that six young people who are not in education, employment or training will receive training in catering, hospitality, customer service and business management.
"The project is designed to provide the skills, motivation and experience they need to take them into employment or self-employment," said Lisa Wilson, Business Development Officer for Families First, "and it also gives them a formal qualification. It will open up the possibility of working in a variety of environments from restaurants to hospitals and companies or even to start their own business.
"Our One 77 Bistro is an ideal supportive venue where all our food is prepared from scratch using fresh ingredients. They will work alongside staff and volunteers and be involved in daily service as well as special events such as birthday parties, lunch clubs and fundraising events.
"We are very grateful to UK Steel Enterprise for helping to ensure this project could go ahead. Apart from the actual training, the fact that we have the funds to provide travel expenses and uniforms is so important as it helps remove any barriers for young people who want to take part."
Peter Taylor of UK Steel Enterprise said: "Families First is doing a great job, and this project will give young people in one of our steel areas a valuable qualification and a real chance of a career.
"Our Community Support Fund has now helped projects in our Northern region with around £340,000 supporting numerous charities and organisations that are helping young people, sports clubs, community centres and people with disabilities or addiction and mental health issues."
Details of UKSEs support for businesses including loan and equity finance of up to £1m and business premises from 01642 777 777 and at www.uksteelenterprise.co.uk. Families First North East is on 01429 867016 and www.familiesfirstne.co.uk.
PICTURE CAPTION: (Front from left) Vicky Winspear, Poppy Turnbull and Ash Carr; (Back) Lisa Wilson, Families First, Ash Atkinson and Peter Taylor, UK Steel Enterprise at One 77 Bistro.