A BRADFORD business has received a government grant which will allow it to support "struggling" young people amid the pandemic.

DC Companyy - an online discount store which sells household products and other items - has been given the funding via the Kickstart Scheme, which helps to create new job placements for 16 to 24-year-olds who are on universal credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.

Through the scheme, the business - which was founded by Saqib Rahim-Baksh - has added 15 more staff members to its roster, giving "opportunities" and some "peace of mind" to families across the district.

"A lot of young people in Bradford idolise drug dealers or criminals, but we want to show them that there are other ways to succeed", said Rahim-Baksh, who is 33 and from Tyersal.

"A lot of these young people have struggled in the past, but we're trying to steer them in the right direction. They have many talents, but little support - they don't have a lot of role models and some don't even have parental figures to support them either", Rahim-Baksh, who lost his own father at a young age, added.

"Everything is online now, especially due to COVID, and these young people are more in tune than anyone, so we're helping them utilise those skills."

Zeeshan Yaqoob is one of DC Companyy's new apprentices, and the 24-year-old - who has a degree in business and law - said: "You don't always get a job after a degree, everyone requires a lot of experience and some firms want you to have a master's

"Even though I graduated with a 2:1, there haven't been a lot of opportunities. Also, I've been busy at home looking after my mum, so I haven't been able to go on to further study.

"Growing up in Bradford isn't easy, opportunities don't come all the time. I see kids hanging around on the streets - but they have a future, they have skills and they can do better.

"When I left university, I got a job, but it didn't relate to my degree. But when I met Saqib, he gave me this chance to put my degree to good use, instead of it just being something you stick on a wall.

"I know people who didn’t quite make it at school. They were talented, but got involved in bad habits, didn't get opportunities or had family problems.

"But this company is providing people with a chance to succeed. I'm in a much healthier position and I wake up excited for work, rather than thinking 'oh, I have to go to work' and dreading it."

DC Companyy sells its products at a "discount rate", with one of its aims, Rahim-Baksh says, being to provide "affordable goods" to families who may be struggling financially due to lockdown.

"We believe that everyone should have the luxury of being able to buy a product without it being at an extortionate price", he said.

"It is important now, more than ever, to support one another, and I thank god for giving me the opportunity to do that."

Saqib Rahim-Baksh can be contacted at info@dccompanyy.co.uk or on +44 333 577 8119.