Green-fingered young people put Stechford on track for national accolade

A project to help young people, who are not in education, employment or training, gain new skills, is giving a Birmingham community a boost in its bid to scoop a national accolade.

A group of 13 young people, aged 16 to 25, from across Birmingham volunteered to transform the centre of Stechford ahead of its bid for a Britain in Bloom entry in the ‘It’s your neighbourhood’ category.  

The young people are taking part in ‘Team’, a 12-week personal development programme run by The Prince’s Trust, to give young people the chance to gain new skills, achieve a qualification and meet new people.

Over two weeks the team has transformed the centre to make it more appealing for residents, commuters and visitors. The group, with input from Stechford Community Forum, has created flower displays, cleared overgrown spaces and gardens, and created space for a badminton court.  They also attended Help Harry Help Others, a local cancer charity drop in centre, to clear its overgrown rear garden so visitors can use the space for relaxing.

The Birmingham East Prince’s Trust team is sponsored by PwC in the Midlands and is run by West Midlands Police in conjunction with the Heart of Worcestershire College.

More than 20 colleagues from PwC have been out in the community helping young people with the Stechford in Bloom project, fundraising bag packs in local supermarkets, and are now gearing up to help the young people with CV and interview skills in the coming weeks.

Harriet Wileman, manager in transaction services at PwC in the Midlands, and the lead for PwC’s involvement in Birmingham, said:

“As a major employer in Birmingham we are committed to giving time and resources back to the city’s communities to help make a difference. Every year we are inspired by the stories of the young people who volunteer with The Prince’s Trust and the difference the project makes to their lives.

“This is a great opportunity for staff from our Birmingham office to volunteer and use their skills and experience to run sessions with the young people in the community to help improve their life chances.

“We will keep our fingers crossed that all the hard work pays off and Stechford is successful in the Britain in Bloom competition.”

Paul Beesley, Interim Director for The Prince’s Trust in Central England, said:

“In 2016 The Prince’s Trust supported 9,252 young people through our Team Programme, to help them to gain workplace skills and confidence. We know that most young people are motivated to get into work but often lack the opportunities to do so. Team is such an important programme, which provides jobless young people with vital experience and self-belief, while benefitting the wider community as well.”

PC 1607 Gareth Sankey, who is a West Midlands Police officer currently seconded to the Prince’s Trust to deliver the team programme, concluded:

“Every team surprises us with their level of commitment to help transform a community project. This team have astounded us by picking to transform six sites within a community rather than simply concentrating on one. It has been hard work for the team, who have never completed anything like this before. However, they have continued to turn up voluntarily every day to make a difference to someone else’s life, whilst supporting each other along their journey.

“I am immensely proud of the team for all they have done to support the Stechford community. It is great to see a group of young people who have a range of issues, including mental health and substance misuse problems, homelessness and offending pasts, come together to put something positive back into a community.”

The 12-week programme started on 22 May. The Prince’s Trust Birmingham East Team has already completed team building activities and fundraising events to help raise money for community organisations working on Stechford in Bloom. They will be embarking on two-week work placement with a variety of local employers, and PwC staff will be supporting them with writing CVs, interview skills and mock interviews. The programme will finish with a presentation evening in PwC’s Birmingham office on Wednesday 9 August.

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