A youth project in north Northumberland will help local young people tackle even more of life’s challenges thanks to a partnership with a regional charity and new funding from Newcastle Building Society.

Berwick Youth Project (BYP), which supports around 500 people aged between 13 and 25 each year, has teamed up with the town’s branch of Citizens Advice Northumberland to extend the support it can offer the community.

A £3,640 grant from Newcastle Building Society has enabled BYP youth support worker Cordelia Scott to train to become a Citizens Advice-qualified advisor, which will mean that Citizens Advice services on issues such as employability and money management are more easily available to local young people.

Funding for the project is being provided through the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund at the Community Foundation, which offers grants to charities and community groups located in or around the communities served by the Society’s branch network.

Founded in 1995, Berwick Youth Project provides outdoor activities, youth club facilities, information and support to young people across Berwick and surrounding communities, as well as offering supported accommodation for up to six people who need help as they move on towards living independently.

Its Beehive Youth Club that runs three days a week at the charity’s Golden Square headquarters provides somewhere that users can drop into to speak to staff, get involved with games and activities or simply spend time with their friends.

The charity is currently working towards a long-held ambition of taking over and renovating a disused community centre in Berwick town centre and is aiming to raise around one million pounds to make it happen.

John Bell, manager at Berwick Youth Project, says: “We understand that every young person we meet is facing their own individual situation and has their own issues to address, which we try to reflect in the ways that we look to help them.

“We tend to act as a ‘first aid’ post, signposting and helping to access any specialist advice that is required alongside our own services, and we wanted to make sure that the quality of advice we can provide stays as high as possible.

“Having a fully-trained advisor on the team means we’re even better equipped to deal with any situations that arise and can better help those who need our support find positive ways forward.

“Taking a partnership approach is essential to the success of our different activities, and working with Citizens Advice and Newcastle Building Society will make a real difference to the young people and families that we look to help.

“The funding we’ve had from the Society means the organisational time and resources it would otherwise have used can be directed towards other parts of our work and it’s a fantastic contribution to what we’re able to offer.”

Siobhan Younger, manager at Newcastle Building Society’s Hide Hill branch in Berwick, adds: “The pandemic has made managing many of the difficult situations that young people face even more challenging, especially in remote area like ours where the right support and advice can often be hard to find.

“This year, we’ve focused our grant-giving programme on charities tackling issues around debt management and employability. We know Berwick Youth Project plays an essential role in ensuring that young people in our communities get support can find the support that they need and we’re very pleased to be helping such an invaluable organisation extend what it can offer.”

Since its launch in 2016, Newcastle Building Society’s Community Fund has also contributed over £2.1m in grants and partnerships to a wide variety of charities and projects across the region, including the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and the Prince’s Trust.

The grants are so far estimated to have had a positive impact on more than 151,000 people.

The Newcastle Building Society Community Fund is run in association with the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.