£10,000 boost for Barrow youth service

6th February 2017

A youth service dedicated to improving the lives of disadvantaged young people in Barrow has been given a £10,000 funding boost from the Cumbria Young People’s Fund.

Drop Zone Youth Project on Cornwallis Street, works with young people aged 11 to 21, many of whom do not go to mainstream school, to offer them opportunities to learn and develop new skills, alongside support for behaviour or lifestyle issues. Their programmes are individualised, which helps to retain and engage young people.

Drop Zone provides alternative education to some of the hardest to reach individuals who are at risk of homelessness, youth offending, drug and alcohol misuse and teenage parenthood. Staff encourage young people to achieve, whether gaining qualifications, developing new skills, participating in positive activities, or improving their health and wellbeing.

The grant was used to support the role of the Education Development Worker who liaises with schools, families, the police and children’s services, to improve the young person’s life chances. The worker provides drop-in advice sessions and runs activities, as well as supporting the day to day running of the alternative education provision.

Susan Johnson, Project Manager at the Drop Zone Youth Project, said: “In the past year, we have received 27 referrals from local secondary schools and the Local Education Authority. 18 have since gained qualifications in Maths and English, and almost all have made a positive transition into college, further training, apprenticeships or employment.

“Thanks to funding, we are able to facilitate an environment for young people to sit their GCSE’s which enables them to feel comfortable in familiar surroundings rather than re-entering schools where they have been disengaged from for long periods of time.

“Often young people who enter our alternative education provision can feel like a failure. We help young people feel proud of their achievements by celebrating even the smallest of tasks. We encourage them to make plans for the future and raise their aspirations to increase their motivation for further success.”

As well as Barrow, Drop Zone also runs youth sessions in Dalton and Askam. All three centres run learning programmes designed to develop life skills, focussed on sexual and physical health, and emotional wellbeing.