Jobs created for young Hebburn volunteers who helped community during pandemic

Volunteers from a Hebburn-based community group have secured jobs thanks to their help in the community throughout the pandemic.

Community group Off The Grid Adventures, has been helping young people get active following the first Covid-19 lockdown. The community group Off The aims to engage young through fun and challenging activities that many people wouldn’t otherwise be able to try.

Their Community Activators project, funded by People’s Health Trust using money raised by Health Lottery North-East and Cumbria, was led by 10 young volunteers who will now go on to work with the community group as Community Coaches.

Around 75 young people have taken part in the project which hosted activities such as archery, camping, and outdoor cooking. Alongside Project Lead, Paul Kirkpatrick, 10 young people from St Joseph’s Catholic Academy in Hebburn helped design and deliver the activities.

Some of the volunteers from Off the Grid Adventures

Paul said: “I was keen on getting support from local people for the project, it’s always better if you have people that live in the streets where the project is based.

"I met these 10 young people from the local school who were so enthusiastic and had a real drive to make a difference in their community. You can’t teach that, I was so lucky to find people who had that drive in them already.”

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The volunteers, aged 17 and 18, planned and delivered over 20 activity sessions between them. Whilst volunteering they all completed AQA Level 2 Youth Leadership Award and seven have stayed with the project gaining employment as Project Coaches.

Volunteer Aaron Singh, aged 18, said: “Working with this project has been a great experience, you feel like you make a real difference when you’re out there delivering activity sessions.”

The new members of staff have been focusing on securing funding to be able to host new projects next year. One of their focuses is on supporting young people who have become isolated during the Covid-19 pandemic as they classmates have lost confidence, or suffering worse emotional well-being, and have expressed concerns about their overall physical health.

Paul added: “This project has been a huge success, which is largely down to the 10 amazing volunteers we had. They have proven that if we have the passion we can change our community for the better and tackle inequalities.”

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