A leading North East construction firm has cemented its commitment to a Tyneside youth project, which has provided valuable support to over 3,000 young people since it launched over 20 years ago.
The Owen Pugh Fund at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland has awarded £1,500 to D2 Youth Zone in Newcastle, taking the total amount that the organisation has received from the fund to £13,000.
D2 was initially set up by the church in 1994 to address young people’s issues on the Newbiggin Hall Estate in Newcastle and has developed into a highly valued contact point for young people, primarily within the 13 to 19 age group, who can access advice and guidance on a range of important issues which can affect their life chances including employment, sexual health and relationships and alcohol awareness.
The project, which employs two experienced youth workers, one full time and one part time, also engages young people in constructive and inspiring activities including a body image campaign where young women exposed the unrealistic expectations placed on them by the beauty industry, and a garden tidy scheme where young people offered a free service to elderly and disabled residents, as well as other constructive activities including art projects which divert young people away from the streets. D2 also acts as a signposting agency to more specialist services.
Despite operating on limited resources D2 has demonstrated significant success. In 2014, 25 out of the 30 young people Not in Education, Employment, or Training (NEET) that the organisation was engaged with are now either employed, in further education or undertaking apprenticeships. Last year D2 was named the third best performing organisation from 72 outlets across the city in tackling issues around sexual health and relationships.
Angela Smith, team leader at D2, who has worked at the project for the past 13 years, said: “D2 has provided important services to teenagers and young adults from the Newbiggin Hall Estate for over two decades and during my time with the organisation the relationships I’ve developed extend to second generation family members. The project’s success is based on building trusted relationships over time and breaking down barriers. We rely on funding in order to be accessible to young people at the times they most need support.
“The financial contributions we’ve received from the Owen Pugh Fund at the Community Foundation have been invaluable in helping us to continue to operate in more challenging times, but what’s just as appreciated is the fact that the company really values the important work that we do as a neighbourhood project.”
Owen Pugh has pledged £30,000 to benefit a number of charitable organisations over the next 12 months through the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, one of which is D2, a long-term beneficiary.
Commenting on the company’s ongoing support of D2, Jan Elliott, Training Development / CSR Manager at Owen Pugh, said:
“The D2 project provides much needed support to young people in the Newbiggin Hall Estate around vitally important issues that can impact on their wellbeing and life chances. Owen Pugh is committed to helping young people to reach their full potential, so we are pleased to continue to support D2 both financially and in whatever way we can.”
Jon Goodwin, Senior Philanthropy Advisor at the Community Foundation added:
“The Owen Pugh Fund is a great example of how local businesses can give something back to the local community and how the Community Foundation can help facilitate sustainable, long-lasting relationships between socially responsible companies like Owen Pugh and innovative, responsive community groups like D2.”
Owen Pugh first got involved with the Community Foundation in 2007 and since then has donated in excess of £125,000 to help over 40 projects and organisations. In addition, Owen Pugh has continued to support other charitable causes on an ad-hoc basis.