• Sat. Dec 9th, 2023

North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub

(from left) Donna Brown, Assistant Branch Manager at Newcastle Building Society’s South Shields branch, Nicola Hands, Head of IT Delivery at Newcastle Building Society, Hannah Woodward, Youth Worker and Dominique Hendry, Project Manager at Bright Futures (from left) Donna Brown, Assistant Branch Manager at Newcastle Building Society’s South Shields branch, Nicola Hands, Head of IT Delivery at Newcastle Building Society, Hannah Woodward, Youth Worker and Dominique Hendry, Project Manager at Bright Futures

A South Tyneside charity’s drive to help local young women realise their potential and find their way into work has been boosted by a four-figure grant from Newcastle Building Society.

Bright Futures North East has set up an employability programme which aims to help young women aged from 15-25 development the skills, confidence and knowledge they need to find and keep a job.

Each participant follows a tailored support plan which takes their individual needs into account, builds their confidence, addresses any barriers to work they might be facing and helps them study for appropriate qualifications.

Support is available for as long as it’s required, with specific resources made available to help school leavers and young mums.

Of the 23 young women that have so far taken part in the programme, 15 have found sustainable long-term employment, with a number of others going into education – and Bright Futures is now looking to get more local young women involved with the scheme.

The project is being supported with a £2,997 grant from the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, which offers grants to charities and community groups located in or around the communities served by the Society’s branch network.

Bright Futures North East aims to give young women up to the age of 25 a brighter future by helping them to tackle some of life’s biggest challenges including substance misuse, domestic abuse, unemployment, poor health and wellbeing, sexual abuse and exploitation.

Working from two community hubs in South Shields, the charity works with over 5,000 young women each year, tackling their different needs through a range of a different support services, including one-to-one help, group sessions, community projects, training programmes and health and wellbeing clinics.

Dominique Hendry, project manager at Bright Futures, says: “Our programme is designed to offer tailored support to local young women in whatever ways they need and for as long as they need it in order to help them into sustainable, long-term employment.

“There are often wider issues within their lives that need to be recognised and addressed before they’re going to be in a position to look for and keep a job, and by taking a holistic approach to their individual situations, we’ve been able to find a lot of positive ways forward.

“We’re already past our initial target for this project and we’re really keen for more local young women to come forward to find out how we might be able to help them achieve their employment goals.

“Getting Newcastle Building Society’s backing has given us the confidence to plan for what we want to achieve over the longer term, while the credibility their involvement provides is helping to open other doors for us.”

Nicola Hands, Head of IT Delivery at Newcastle Building Society, and who recently visited the charity, adds: “It was wonderful to see how the team at Bright Futures are supporting woman from their local area. They are making significant impacts to the quality of these women’s lives, both in the short term and longer-term and I wish them every success in the future.”

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.