A NORTH-EAST charity has helped dozens of unemployed young people to move in to employment, education or training over the course of the last 12 months.

Street League, the charity based at the Pallister Park Centre in Middlesbrough, has supported 55young people from all over the Tees Valley in a combined sports and employability programme.

Bosses say youth unemployment rates in the Tees Valley are higher than the national average and the number of job vacancies are lower.

This combined with the complex issues that young people in the area often face, including mental health issues, means securing and staying in a job is a real challenge, according to Street League.

The organisation has worked with unemployed young people aged 16 to 24 from deprived communities in Tees Valley since 2015. In that time, 178 young people have moved into employment, education or training thanks to the organisation.

Young people who join Street League take part in the academy four days a week for a combination of sports sessions and skills workshops.

All sessions focus on improving confidence, building skills, like CV writing and interview techniques, and raising aspirations.

The ultimate aim of the eight-week programme is moving each young person into work or education and supporting them to stay there.

Paul Shepherd, operations manager for Street League in Middlesbrough, said: “Every week we welcome young people from all over Tees Valley to our academy.

"Through our fun sports sessions, we see these young people gain confidence and start to believe in themselves. From there, we work with them to identify what they would like to do – it can be anything from going back to college to securing their first job.

"One of our recent graduates, Ashleigh, came to Street League as she was struggling to balance family pressures with finding a job. With us, she build leadership, communication and teamwork skills which gave her the skills to go to interviews and follow her dreams.

He added: "Ashleigh is due to start work next month and is really looking forward to offering great customer service.”

Players of People’s Postcode Lottery have been supporting Street League’s projects for the past four years with £2.7m being awarded to date from Postcode Sport Trust.

The academy was recently visited by a team from the lottery, who took part in the programme for the day and met the young people that Street League is currently supporting.