Youth project secures major grant from Government

14/10/2019, PR-9193

​A Wakefield Council youth project has been awarded £538,244 in Government funding to expand the help it gives to vulnerable young people.

Pupils benefiting from a skills programme

​The Branching Out project has secured a slice of a £16.2 million grant from the Youth Endowment Fund that has been set up to support young people  at risk of becoming involved in offending.

The programme will reach out to vulnerable young people in schools and communities, to build their confidence and resilience and help raise their aspirations.

Cllr Margaret Isherwood
Cllr Margaret Isherwood

​Cllr Margaret Isherwood, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People at Wakefield Council, said: "This is a fantastic project which has already made a significant difference to the lives of many young people in our district.


"This additional funding will enable us to work all year round with hundreds more young people and provide both structured and informal support that will empower them make positive choices in their lives."


The original Branching Out scheme was a five day programme that helped young people to become more resilient, by taking part in outdoor activities such as nature conservation and trying activities such as orienteering, raft building and canoeing.


It helped those at risk of dropping out of learning to re-engage with education, with many inspired to join sports clubs or sign up for the Duke of Edinburgh project.


The extra funding will mean the programme can provide long term support throughout the year, including mentoring that will be delivered by youth workers in schools and in communities.


It will also provide opportunities for young people to take part in Lions Quest, an international programme, which promotes emotional learning and wellbeing, as well as youth volunteering programmes that help young people give something back to their local communities.


Mandy Broadbent, Communications Manager - Lions Lifeskills – said: "Lions Lifeskills are delighted that Wakefield Youth Services will be the first in the UK to deliver the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence as part of the Branching Out  youth support programme.  Social and emotional skills provide the foundation for dealing with anger and frustration, preventing negative behaviours and developing positive school behaviours that increase academic performance."


The Branching Out programme was first launched by the Council in 2014, with the support of partners including West Yorkshire Police, Wakefield District Housing and the Hepworth Gallery. It has helped over 360 young people on the path to success.