• Sat. Apr 20th, 2024

North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub

(from left) Kate Myers community assistant at Newcastle Building Society, Simon Virth housing manager at Community Campus 87 and Sean Myers, area manager at Newcastle Building Society, in the Stockton activity room (from left) Kate Myers community assistant at Newcastle Building Society, Simon Virth housing manager at Community Campus 87 and Sean Myers, area manager at Newcastle Building Society, in the Stockton activity room

A Teesside social enterprise has upgraded the facilities it can offer local young people in need after receiving a four-figure grant from the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.

Community Campus 87 is a community-based organisation which provides affordable housing, training opportunities and emotional and practical support for around 120 young people across Teesside every week.

It has offices in Stockton, Middlesbrough and Hartlepool, with its Stockton office offering an activity room for local service users to meet, train, and spend time in, as well as providing computers for them to use for tasks including job searches and filling in online forms.

The well-used space has been in need of redecoration for some time – and now, the £4,000 Society grant has provided the funds needed to allow it to happen, with some of the charity’s services users working alongside members of its maintenance team to get the required work done.

The funding has also allowed the kitchen at the Brunswick Street premises to be upgraded – and the organisation is now hoping that the improvements they’ve been able to make will encourage more local young people in and around Stockton to use what’s available to them.

Founded in 1987, Community Campus 87 was set up to respond to high levels of youth unemployment and homelessness across Teesside, and now works to create opportunities, break down barriers, empower people to realise their potential and so build towards a better life.

It owns and manages around 70 properties across the area which house around 100 young people on a weekly basis, including care leavers, unaccompanied minors seeking asylum, unemployed young people and those facing or dealing with homelessness.

Community Campus 87’s work is delivered by a team of over 50 staff, apprentices and volunteers, with many former service users coming back to give the project the benefit of their personal experience of the issues they’ve dealt with.

Simon Virth, assistant CEO at Community Campus 87, says: “The issues that led to our organisation being set up in the first place are still prevalent today and we do all we can to help young people across Teesside build the resilience they need to improve their life prospects.

“Our Stockton activity room and kitchen are well used for regular training sessions and events, and also provide a warm, safe space where young people know they’re welcome to spend some time when they want to.

“The changes we’ve made have helped to create a much more welcoming space with better facilities, and getting some of our service users involved with the redecoration adds to the sense of ownership that they have for this space.

“The feedback we’ve had has been really positive, and we hope the improved facilities will encourage even more local young people to spend some time with us and to find out what help we can offer them.

“There’s never a shortage of costs that need covering from our budget and it would have been difficult for us to carry out this work without Newcastle Building Society’s support, so we’re really grateful for their help with getting it all done.”

The Newcastle Building Society Community Fund at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland offers grants to charities and community groups located in or around the communities served by the Society’s branch network.

Sean Myers, area manager at Newcastle Building Society, adds: “Community Campus 87 offers a wide range of support for young people across Teesside who are facing a whole host of difficult situations.

“The help they provide makes a huge difference to service users’ short and long-term prospects, and we hope that the improvements they’ve made to their Stockton premises will encourage more young people to take a look at what’s available for them there.”

Since its launch in 2016, Newcastle Building Society’s Community Fund at the Community Foundation has also contributed over £2.3m 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.