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Carlisle charity helping young people find their way into work

Date published: 27 October 2021

Read time: 4 minutes

Community Fund grant recipient, Carlisle Key

A Cumbrian charity is helping local young people facing homelessness to gain the training and confidence they need to get a job thanks to a £3,000 grant from Newcastle Building Society.

Carlisle Key provides assistance and support for young people aged from 16 to 25 who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and aims to give them the knowledge, support and confidence they need to go on and live independently.

Part of its work involves helping its service users develop the personal skills and knowledge they need to find and keep a job, as well as helping to break down the barriers that are stopping them doing so.

The Society grant will now help Carlisle Key extend its work in this area, with tailored support being provided to each young person to help them achieve their employment goals.

The funding has been provided through the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund at the Community Foundation, which offers grants to charities and community groups located in or around the communities served by the Society's branch network.

The Society is a long-term supporter of Carlisle Key’s work, with a £2,537 grant given last year enabling it to provide welcome packs for service users who don’t have the essential basic items they need to start living independently.

Carlisle Key works with young people from across Carlisle and Cumbria, as well as with people from further afield who have moved to the area and have no local contacts, and runs a drop-in centre on Fisher Street in Carlisle as well as an 11-bed supported accommodation unit in the city centre.

It has helped around 275 young people in the last year, and has also previously used the Society’s English Street branch’s community space as a neutral location for meetings with some of its service users.

Deborah Earl, Chief Executive Officer at Carlisle Key, says: “We work with young people from all sorts of backgrounds who are facing a wide range of different, often complex issues and aim to give them the support, guidance and advice they need to make positive progress.

“Part of living independently is being able to pay your way, which means finding and keeping a job, but many of the young people we work with aren’t in a position to even begin to look for one when they first come to us.

“Our employability programme focuses on identifying the sorts of things our young people would like to do, providing opportunities for them to develop the personal and workplace skills they’ll need and helping them find practical ways to reach their goals.

“The difference that this support makes to them as people is often transformative, and it’s amazing to see the difference in their confidence between when we first meet them and when they leave us.

“Having Newcastle Building Society’s continuing support gives us the flexibility to tailor the help we provide to the needs of each young person and the impact on their life prospects can not be underestimated.”

Throughout 2021, Newcastle Building Society has been directing its support to a range of projects tackling issues linked to employability, as part of helping its communities manage, mitigate and recover from the impacts of Covid-19.

Helen Jelly, Manager at Newcastle Building Society's Carlisle branch, adds: “Carlisle Key is a real pillar of our community and helps dozens of local young people in challenging situations begin to build better lives for themselves.

“Extending our support for their work is a great way to demonstrate our own commitment to community improvement and we’re very glad to be able to help.”

Since its launch in 2016, Newcastle Building Society’s Community Fund has also contributed over £2.1m in grants and partnerships to a wide variety of charities and projects across the region, including the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and The Prince’s Trust.

The grants are so far estimated to have had a positive impact on more than 151,000 people.

The Newcastle Building Society Community Fund is run in association with the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.