Helping young people turn the corner

In the North East and Yorkshire we’re now really starting to see the impact of the Big Lottery-funded Turning the Corner project (TTC), which started in 2010.

The project is designed to help young people to build relationships with businesses by creating opportunities for the two groups to work together on environmental improvements that will benefit their community.

The six youth workers that head up TTC on behalf of Groundwork have been working hard to engage many young people, businesses and organisations in communities within South Tyneside, Redcar & Cleveland, Durham, Wakefield, Leeds and Dearne Valley for the past two years. Our most recent figures reveal this is really starting to reap dividends.

Almost 1,100 10 to 18 year olds have now engaged with TTC. From the creation of art walls to construction work and horticultural activities to the building of mountain bike trails, these projects are not only physically improving communities, they are helping to create positive and sustained relationships between young people and businesses.

To date, nearly 200 businesses and organisations have engaged on projects with young people to make physical improvements to their ‘street corner’, which significantly exceeds the target to engage with 30 businesses by the end of the second year.

National retail chains such as Asda and the Co-op have demonstrated their commitment to improving the local communities they serve by getting involved with TTC. And at a grassroots level, many independent retailers are also seeing the very real benefits of the project.

In Wakefield, Pav Sull, owner of Woodhouse Post Office, has reported a marked reduction in antisocial behaviour in and around his premises since getting involved in artwork projects with young people and volunteering at local youth drop-in sessions.

Pav says: ‘One reason for getting involved was so that when young people came in the store they would see their work on display and generate a sense of pride. We hoped this would translate into better behaviour, which it did. I have seen a drastic reduction in the anti-social behaviour compared to before TTC was set up. I have also noticed a vast improvement in the attitudes of the young people that come into the shop.’

TTC has also made great progress in encouraging skills development. Last year, 595 young people developed skills in a wide range of practical subjects that have led to formal accreditations such as Youth Achievement Awards (YAA), and many more are well on their way to achieving them. Even more young people have increased their skills and self-confidence as a result of their involvement with TTC.

It’s clear to see that many young people and businesses are seeing the benefits of TTC beyond their physical involvement with the project. We hope that even more get involved over the coming months so that we can continue to build relationships, create better neighbourhoods, develop skills and improve job prospects.


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