Investing in young people

Jon Cruddas welcomes a £450K cash injection to launch community projects aimed to raise the aspirations and achievements of young people.

Barking and Dagenham is one of fifteen areas to receive a share of £10 million ‘Inspiring Communities' funding from the Labour Government, aimed to transform lives of young people aged 11 - 14 years.

The ‘Inspiring Communities' bid will see several innovative projects launch in Heath ward, Dagenham. Projects will be led by the local community who will work together to help youngsters.

Parents, schools, businesses, charities and local agencies will run the projects, bringing together as many people and organisations as possible who can help youngsters on the road to success.

Some of the upcoming Inspiring Communities projects for Heath ward include:

• Young people will develop a volunteer gardening project to help older people.

• Parental support advice service via Robert Clack School for parents with disaffected teenagers.

• Beyond Barking and Dagenham boundaries, an international project that will take up to 40 young people to India on an exchange programme.

• Extend the community voluntary mentoring ‘LinkUp' programme.

• Recruitment and training of volunteer mentors. To match fifty young people identified as potential NEET (not in employment, education or training), teen parents and young people with learning disabilities to mentors.

• The living History Street and Street Base pod casts - Studio 3 Arts. Young people will be trained to run and host pod casts onto the Street Base website (

Local Government Minister Rosie Winterton, said: "All young people deserve the chance to see what they are capable of and the opportunities open to them, and this is what Inspiring Communities is designed to do. It will enable youngsters to fulfil their potential."

Jo Feeney, Group Manager, Integrated Youth Support Service, said: "The projects are exciting and innovative. They will bridge intergenerational gaps and help young people to experience life beyond the boundaries of the borough.

"We will be working in partnership and with the third sector to achieve our aims. We have high expectations for our young people. In our partnerships we are determined that every individual maximises their life chances and fulfils their potential."

Cllr Rocky Gill, cabinet member for education and children's services, added: "The funding is fantastic news and it will make a real difference to young people in Heath ward. The local community will play a part in helping to raise aspirations and self confidence through learning new skills."

To ensure local people can make the most difference to help young people achieve their potential, the projects will be working in innovative ways such as pooling and sharing resources to achieve the best value for money and delivery of service.