A Swiss banking group is proving there are no language barriers to better literacy by backing a project to improve the skills of teenagers in South Tyneside.
Geneva-based Mirabaud is sponsoring the creation of a group of 14 to 19-year-olds who will develop activities around reading and writing.
Its support is also aimed at encouraging more young people to visit The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, in South Shields, where the initiative is based.
Mirabaud’s involvement is due to its management of the Tyne and Wear Pension Fund.
The fund, which is for local authority employees, is administered by South Tyneside Council.
Representatives from the company have visited The Word to see its facilities and to meet those involved in getting the scheme started.
Robert White, Assistant Portfolio Manager of Mirabaud, said: “We were keen to get involved as soon as we heard about the project.
“Part of our corporate social responsibility work is to support young people to help them achieve the best in life.
“As an organisation, we want to put something back and strongly believe that if a young person has very good literacy skills, then the opportunities they will have in life are greater.
“We have been very impressed with what we have seen and learnt about The Word, particularly its aim to programme events to get young people excited about their own potential.
“We are delighted to be sponsoring this initiative.”
The Word, which is in the Market Place, is now seeking teenagers to join a young people’s board which will develop activities based around literacy.
Councillor Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council, said high standards of literacy among young people in South Tyneside was of “paramount importance”.
He added: “It’s been my privilege to meet with representatives of Mirabaud, who support what we are working to achieve.
“When the group is up and running, we really hope to make a difference to young people’s lives. This wouldn’t have been possible without financial backing.
“We are thrilled to have the support of an organisation as large and important as Mirabaud, and we are confident their support is going to have a real positive impact.”