Unemployed young people in Hartlepool now have access to a special advice hub set up by The Big League CIC with the help of a £2000 grant from UKSE’s Community Support Fund.

The Tata Steel business-support subsidiary has backed the organisation’s Phoenix Project, designed to help young people into employment with practical advice on careers, writing CVs and job searches as well as building skills and self-confidence.

The funding has helped to transform a former storeroom at the Burbank Community Centre into a training room with new flooring, re-decoration and a well-equipped IT suite.

Sam Hunter, Community and Funding Manager at The Big League said: “We have already been working with a number of unemployed young people, aged from around 16 to 24, and it has been so rewarding to see how they have risen to the challenge and are making real progress.

“This latest project wouldn’t have been possible without the help from UKSE, alongside support from the National Lottery and two local businesses, and we are very grateful for the funding.  It means that we now have the facilities to help more than 250 young people during the coming year with a drop-in service and workshops.

“The project is about raising aspirations, helping to improve the employability prospects of young people in Hartlepool, reducing poverty and strengthening the community,” she said.

Sarah Thorpe, UKSE Regional Manager, said: “Our Community Support Fund is there to back a whole range of projects that improve the lives of people living in our steel areas.  We know from supporting businesses with investments, and with premises at our Innovation Centres in Hartlepool and Redcar, that companies need a skilled and committed workforce as much as young people need employment. We are only too pleased that we have been able to help with this project.”

The Big League delivers numerous support programmes with the help of a band of volunteers. They have provided around 1,300 free hot meals weekly, delivered more than 20,000 food parcels during the height of the Covid pandemic and helped to store and pack parcels of aid destined for Ukraine.