Bradford charity project gears up to help young carers and teenage parents thanks to funding boost

Declan Norton lets Lewis Oddy let off some steam during sparring

AWARD: Senior Youth worker Adam Woodhouse joins in with a game of pool

GAMING: Coran Oxley playing the XBox during the evening

First published in News

IN recent years its future has been in doubt.

The recession had a dramatic impact on many charitable organisations who rely on donations, and grants, to get them from one year to the next.

The Edge, a youth project on Bradford's Holme Wood estate, was no exception but struggling to secure funding almost led to its closure last year.

Such was the situation Adam Woodhouse, the project's senior youth worker, was on the brink of working without taking a wage through his determination to continue helping the young people who benefit so greatly from the facility.

The recent news that the project has been awarded £74,997 spread over three years, to continue its work encouraging and empowering young people on the estate, has finally given them something to smile about.

"It's really amazing because I had been trying to get Children in Need funding for three years and when I got the letter I didn't know what to say. It is like the project has gone from nothing to now having five members of staff," explains Adam.

The fund will enable the project to concentrate on supporting young carers as well as teenage parents. While the teenage conception rate for Tong ward is classed as 'significantly higher' than the average for the Bradford district as a whole, since 2006-2008 the rate in Tong has been falling and for 2009-11 was the lowest it has ever been over the decade since 2000 to 2002.

Across Bradford as a whole, there was an average of 31.1 conceptions per 1,000 girls aged under-18 between 20010-2012 compared to 34.7 in 2009-11 and 40.7 in 2008-10. These figures are the lowest in West Yorkshire.

Last year Bradford Council became one of only nine percent of local authorities in England to have achieved a key Government target set in 1999 to halve the rate of teenage pregnancies since that date.

Adam says the funding would enable them to support young people to be good parents.

"What we want to do is support young people rather than condone young people. Support them to be good parents."

Coran Oxley is among the young people who will benefit. Coran, who is already involved with The Edge project, is also one of its success stories.

The 17-year-old is a former winner of the Young Citizens Awards run by Bradford Council in conjunction with the Telegraph & Argus, Bradford Children's Trust and Young Lives Bradford, after helping to care for his mum, who suffers from MS (Multiple Sclerosis). He also became a father for the first time in April.

Coran says he believes the funding will be beneficial to young carers and teen parents, and also for the wider community.

"Having someone to speak to can make the difference. It is excellent news," says Coran.

Adam explains the funding would help to run different clients groups so that young people can share their own caring or parenting experiences. It will also provide one to one support for young people. "The best type of support for young people is when they help each other. It is a good way of supporting each other," says Adam.

As well as the Children in Need grant, the project has also received £22,000 worth of funding through the Good Neighbour Community Fund from Provident Financial Plc to support Declan Norton.

Like Coran, Declan has grown up at The Edge after his introduction to the project through the training organisation Aspire-i.

His enthusiasm for health and fitness prompted the 20-year-old to set up a mini gym through the ibank project run in conjunction with Bradford Credit Union, which teaches youngsters the importance of saving.

The additional funding will allow Declan to work full-time for the project and develop the gym for the benefit of the other young people attending the project.

Declan also does some physical activity sessions with pupils at nearby Ryecroft Primary School. He sees his role as reciprocating the support he received. "Seeing how they helped me and knowing I can help other people," he says.

Adds Adam: "Our centre is in the middle of an estate and having somewhere they can pop out to or get advice or respite from everyday life and meet other people on their doorstep is what people need."

Comments (1)

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4:00pm Mon 21 Jul 14

Adz.edge says...

if you would like to know any more about our project please get in touch!
if you would like to know any more about our project please get in touch! Adz.edge
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