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Christmas Markets give young people a leading link in business

ByDave Stopher

Dec 11, 2017 #Bedlington

Bedlington based charity, Leading Link wished everyone a Happy Christmas by taking part in a special young people’s Christmas Market in Morpeth.

The enterprise market on the 9th December saw a grand total of 45 teams of young people selling Christmas wares together with local live music and festive cheer.

Students were mainly from the Three Rivers Schools of Chantry and Newminster Middle and King Edward VI Academy High although there were also young people taking part who worked with Leading Link independently.

Leading Link were commissioned by The Key, a youth charity who supports the growth mind set of youth people to deliver an enterprise programme within a number of Northumberland Schools.

The enterprise programme allowed the students to create a product, research resources, look at budgeting, profit and loss, develop a prototype to include packaging and then make their products to sell at the markets.  In order for the groups to receive their funding they each had to go in front of a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style panel consisting of people in business, the Northumberland County Council Manager of Markets and representatives from The Key.

Lyn Horton, CEO of Leading Link was delighted with the effort and entrepreneurial skills demonstrated by the young people.

“They’ve really taken to the idea of creating a product, marketing it and selling it. The have been selling hand designed mugs and coasters, home-made bath bombs, chocolate sleighs, Christmas arts and crafts, fudge, candles and even sweets packaged in test tubes. We are grateful for funding from The Key which has allowed us to do this programme. It’s made a real difference to the young people by giving them new skills, a different way of thinking and more self-confidence.”

One young person who took part in the Christmas market was John Strasenburg of St Benet Biscop Catholic Academy in Bedlington.

“I’ve really enjoyed talking to the public at the market and it’s given me more confidence and experience which I can use when I leave school.”

Leading Link have operated the markets project all across the region with the following schools: James Calvert Spence in Amble, Sir Charles Parson in Walker

Churchill Community College in Wallsend, St Benet Biscop Catholic Academy in Bedlington, Josephine Butler Campus, NCEA in Ashington, Bedlington Academy High School, Bedlington and Walker Technology College, Walker

 In total, they have run 104 projects engaging 425 young people. More than 800 people have benefited from the projects.