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Creating opportunities to help Liverpool’s young people prepare for employment

Written by Maisie Jeynes, 7th October 2021

We're celebrating the success of an exciting project offering Liverpool’s young people training and personal development opportunities to help improve their employability and life skills.

Young people involved in the scheme can learn about project management, how to pitch for funding, and business planning, as well as picking up practical skills such as gardening, joinery and facilities management. They also have the chance to get hands-on experience in the day-to-day running of the organisation and its social enterprises at Calderstones, which support our charitable work with communities around the UK.

The project, which has been supported by the Steve Morgan Foundation and Community Match Challenge – part of the government’s £750m support package for charities #CommunitiesCan, aims to reach young people aged between 16 - 24 across the Liverpool region who face significant disadvantages and need extra support with things like accommodation, wellbeing, finances and training.

(L-R: Jack Collings, Jane Davis and Greg Harwood-Jenkins)

Our Young Persons Mentor, Greg Harwood-Jenkins said: ‘We recognise that some young
people need help finding their purpose or passion so this project aims to provide a real breadth of opportunities to empower and enlighten them.

‘We want to make a real difference in their lives by coaching and supporting them through a well-structured programme, where they gain real life skills that they can go on to use in the workplace.’

We've partnered with local organisations Strawberry Field, Liverpool City Council Leaving
Care Team, Local Solutions and Thrive, to place young people on the project and set up on-going support to ensure those engaged with the project have a positive, meaningful journey.

Alan Triggs, Programme Manager at Strawberry Field said: ‘It is a pleasure working with The Reader in supporting and providing opportunities for young people with learning difficulties and other barriers to employment realise their dreams. The Strawberry Field values of compassion, generosity and inclusion resonate so well with the vision and values at The Reader. We look forward to developing our relationship even further and sharing success.’

To date, more than ten young people have benefitted from the scheme, and six individuals are now in paid employment with us.

Jack, who joined the project in March, and is now working as a Facilities Assistant said: ‘I felt supported from day one and my placement has been completely shaped around me. For the first time in my life, I have structure, I am surrounded by people who I can trust, and I feel like I have just restarted my life.’

The project is a natural extension of our work supporting the health and wellbeing of disadvantaged families. We've got a growing portfolio of innovative children and young people’s projects, ranging from 1:1 reading with looked-after children across Merseyside, to workshops for partner-staff and parents to inspire and improve confidence in reading with children across Merseyside and Cheshire.

Shared Reading is at the heart of everything we do, so all participants will benefit from taking part in Shared Reading sessions throughout their placement.

Jane Davis, founder and director of The Reader said: ‘Shared Reading helps improve wellbeing and can build up a sense of having your own voice, as well as developing real life social connections. The young people involved in the project tell us it enriches their lives alongside some of the more practical skills they’re developing.'

We’re always keen to explore opportunities with new partners as part of our on-going work to help young people in the Liverpool City Region and beyond. If you’d like to find out more, please email development@thereader.org.uk.

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