Work of South Tyneside charity celebrated through new 'levelling up' award

The work done by a South Tyneside charity has been celebrated, with the group named a ‘levelling up’ champion in a new set of awards.

The youth homeless organisation, KEY Project, picked up a prize in the ‘Positive Destinations Post 16+’ category of the newly-created Levelling Up Goals Awards.

The programme recognises organisations that “play a leading role in levelling up the UK and that are committed to boosting opportunity and being truly purpose-led.”

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Organisations for the 14 different award categories – which are focused on equality of opportunity at key life stages – were nominated by MPs and businesses, among other figures and organisations.

Reacting to the news, South Shields MP, Emma Lewell Buck, who had nominated KEY Project for the award, tweeted: “I am beyond proud and thrilled that my nomination for the Levelling Up Awards, Shields very own @ST_KEYProject have WON! So deserving, congratulations.”

The awards ceremony was hosted at Darlington Hippodrome, with backing from Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Labour MP Margaret Hodge, Hexham MP Guy Opperman and others.

The Levelling Up Goals Awards are Co-Chaired by former Minister for Public Health, Seema Kennedy, and the MP for Darlington, Peter Gibson.

The categories are were devised according to the criteria of the ‘Levelling Up Goals’ launched earlier this year by former Education Secretary, Justine Greening.

The Goals provide a benchmark for activity focused on driving equality of opportunity from early years through to careers, alongside barriers such as the digital divide, health and infrastructure.

Commenting on the win, Ross Allen, Executive Lead at KEY Project, said: “We believe that every young person deserves the chance to realise their full potential and go on to live a successful, independent life. We’re delighted to win this national award which recognises the dedication of our staff, volunteers and all our supporters who are true champions for the young people we empower.”

“This is a significant achievement," Jo Benham Brown, Business Development and Communities Manager at KEY Project, said.

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"I’m immensely proud of my KEY colleagues and our wonderful volunteers and pleased that this accolade has been awarded for all their efforts.

"Whether keeping our young people safe at night, supporting families, looking after back-office activities, and anything in between, every single one of our team plays a vital role and contributes to the success of KEY.”

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