A local volunteering organisation is working with a regional building society to provide a new education programme for secondary school pupils.

Darlington Cares has launched Homework Club in partnership with its member Darlington Building Society, after it was brought to the organisation’s attention that there is a significant dip in children’s attainment when they progress into Years 7 and 8.

As part of the initiative, volunteers will go into local secondary schools once a week to work with 11 to 13-year olds to support them with their homework or other projects in a casual setting.

Volunteers from the Society will also run workshops on budgeting and managing money to help develop the pupils’ financial skills.

Homework Club is currently being hosted at Longfield Academy and Darlington Cares hopes to see its programme rolled out to two additional Darlington secondary schools over the coming year.

The project is supported by Darlington Building Society through its pledge to share five per cent of its net profits, after tax, with local causes and activities.

Caroline Darnbrook, the Society’s Director of Products and Marketing, said: “We wanted to support local young people by partnering with this exciting initiative, which will help school children focus and also build friendships.

“We feel it is important for people to learn financial skills at a young age. This is an area where we know some people lack confidence so by helping to develop these abilities now, it will benefit the pupils in later life.”

Assistant Headteacher of Longfield Academy Stuart Rawle said: “The Homework Club programme will be an excellent source of support for many of our pupils as they will have the opportunity to receive specialist help with a variety of homework tasks.

“We will be working closely with the community and more specifically with Darlington Cares in order to create a safe, supportive and nurturing environment for the pupils to thrive in.”

He continued: “This will undoubtedly have a positive impact on their confidence and progress when going back into the classroom, as the homework will be completed in a way that supports each individual pupil’s learning.”

Restaurant chain Nando’s will also provide nutritious meals for the pupils who attend the club to help boost their concentration levels.