Newham charity launches youth project

11:55 07 April 2012

Community Links has launched a new project working with vulnerable young people in Newham to help them build a positive future.

The project, called Links4Life, is one of only six of its kind in the country, and has come about through a new Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Innovation Fund.

Community Links will be supporting young people’s transition from school to colleges and into work over three years in Newham and Waltham Forest. The project will be working with over 700 young people over three years, with a wide range of partners, including schools, training providers and employers.

At the heart of the project will be highly skilled ‘link workers’ who will provide individual support to each young person, building a strong ‘deep value’ relationship and providing a timely intervention to ensure young people are ready to move into work or training.

Geraldine Blake, Chief Executive of Community Links, said: “We need to work together to make sure that our communities benefit from the life-changing opportunities on offer. Building a fence at the top of the cliff rather running an ambulance at the bottom has been at the heart of our strategy over 35 years”

As well as working in new ways to support young people, the project is funded in an innovative way. In one of the first examples of its kind Bridges Ventures, through the Bridges Social Entrepreneurs Fund, and the Stratford Development Partnership for Regeneration have set up Links4Life to contract with DWP and finance the delivery costs, with the DWP paying Links4Life on evidence of outcomes achieved.

The work will be focused in three areas of Newham (Royal Docks, Canning Town and Stratford), and two areas in Waltham Forest. Both boroughs have exceptionally young populations (41 per cent below 25) where a quarter of all young people are currently unemployed.

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