The £750,000 grant will secure the future of the Hemlington Detached Youth Work Project (Linx) and enable it to extend its work across the town.
The announcement is part of a £40 million hand-out from the Big Lottery Fund and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport to help youth organisations across the country boost the skills and life chances of young people in disadvantaged areas.
The Government-backed Youth Investment Fund is set to benefit 300,000 young people across 34 local authority areas including Middlesbrough.
The money will create new opportunities for them to get involved in their communities, support their personal development and help them get the skills and confidence they need to enter the workplace.
Bidding closed in November last year for projects but the rules had narrowed the number of groups eligible to apply to just two locally.
Linx Director Kul Peacock said: “We are all over the moon.
“It is a great achievement for Linx and a major investment in young people in Hemlington and a new generation of young people as we roll out our programme across Middlesbrough.
“It was a nervous wait for the decision - there’s a lot at stake here as this new money is set to replace mainstream support for youth work in Middlesbrough.
“This is a big vote of confidence in Linx, too, and our ability to deliver ‘open access’ youth work across the town.
“Linx was established in Hemlington in 1993 on these principles and I’m proud of everyone, including our members, who have been involved getting us to this point.”
The Youth Investment Fund will be shared by 86 youth organisations in East London, Liverpool City Region, West Midlands, Tees Valley and Sunderland, Bristol & Somerset and Eastern Counties over the next three years.
It will be used to create new youth clubs in rural areas, expand sports projects to build the confidence of young people encouraging them to get active and increase services providing support and guidance to young people.
Mrs Peacock added: “Our youth workers engage and build relationships with young people to get them more involved in their communities as well as in the design and delivery of activities and services we offer.
“We try to make it fun, of course, but there is a more serious intent to support their personal development, working with their families where necessary, so they can make the best of their life and work chances.
“We have been gearing up to do this over the past three or four years, changing the way Linx is structured rather than what we do.
“Our activities in other neighbourhoods have already started and we’re also building on the work we have been doing in schools and with our partners.”
Middlesbrough Mayor Dave Budd said: “This is terrific news, and a huge vote both in the work Hemlington Linx already does and the potential it has to change lives in the future.
“This funding will enable Linx to expand the invaluable services it provides to young people across the town, and will benefit a great many who might otherwise have missed out.”
Big Lottery Fund Chief Executive Dawn Austwick said: “The Youth Investment Fund is a welcome boost for the many great community organisations that work with young people locally.
“Money raised by National Lottery players creates opportunities for young people to build on their talents and strengths and the Youth Investment Fund is an important part of the jigsaw for the youth sector.”
- The project is now in the process of appointing to full and part-time jobs, employing youth work apprentices and supporting volunteers.
For more information about Linx visit www.hemlingtonlinx.org or the group’s Facebook page.