Life changing project for young people

On the 30th April 2009 Building Futures East had the pleasure of launching the Square One project with a celebration event that saw the first group of Square One trainees graduating from the project.

Ted Belisle, Gemma Louise McGarry, Kitt Rutherford, Charlie Smith, Ryan Somerville and David Williamson were the six trainees who attended the event and they were joined by their parents and also placement providers from the Scotswood Strategy, J Noble Joinery, JR Bell Atkins, Holystone Ltd and Milldene Joinery services.

Leader of Newcastle City Council, Cllr. John Shipley OBE and Square One trainees

‘It’s changed my life’

Ryan Somerville – Square One trainee April 2008- March 2009

Special guests who attended the event were the Leader of Newcastle City Council, Councillor John Shipley OBE, Chair of Building Futures East, Father Michael Conaty MBE, Cllr. John Stokel-Walker and Bruce Shepherd from the BFE board of directors and Kerry Corbett of Newcastle City Council.

The afternoon began with the young people sharing their individual experiences on the programme. The message was clear from each of them: Square one has changed their lives for the better and they have been given a unique opportunity to make something of themselves. What was apparent to every person in the room was the amount of confidence with which each of the trainees spoke and the huge step that these young people have taken towards changing their lives.

Barry Scott, company director of Holystone Ltd followed the trainees with a positive message on the impact that regeneration schemes have on local business and spoke sincerely about his continued support of the programme as well as giving insight into how the trainees he had interacted with over their time on Square One had developed.

Cllr. John Shipley OBE strongly commended the young people on all their hard work, dedication and their commitment to improving their lives and taking the first step to employment. He spoke passionately of the importance of programmes like Square One to local business and to local community and emphasised how important it is that we all share a collective responsibility to get behind regeneration projects to improve opportunities for all.

After the main presentation of special commemorative plaques to all our young trainees by Father Michael Conaty MBE and Cllr. John Shipley, Father Conaty closed the event and thanked all who had attended the hugely successful afternoon. He summed up the day perfectly by saying: ‘You’re all wonderful and a real inspiration to other young people’. On that note, and with beaming faces all around, the Square One trainees were given the hero’s send off they had all earned.

Reflecting on the event and the overall success of the first year of the programmes operation, Melissa Egan, Square One Co-ordinator said ‘There’s no going back to Square One for these young people! They are walking confidently forward on the path to their success’.

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