A special Community Support Fund set up by UKSE to help charities, schools, clubs and other groups improve the life of people on Teesside has now handed over around £350,000.

Grants have gone to projects that help unemployed young people on to the jobs ladder, support deaf children, organise summer play days for children with special needs.

Organisations working to help adults with addiction problems or mental health issues have received funds as have groups providing lunch clubs for homeless people or sports activities for children in areas where there are none.

Young footballers in Hartlepool were helped to buy new kit and equipment, a school in Middlesbrough was able to refurbish a garden centred around a special WW1 commemoration plaque, young people have been given the chance to start a career in catering, a Redcar Community Centre helped to refurbish a garden where local people are growing their own vegetables and fruit in a healthy eating project and those recovering from addiction had the chance to work with a dance theatre company.

UKSE has a long-standing relationship with the Prince’s Trust Team Programmes run by the Education Training Collective that has helped hundreds of unemployed young people develop the skills employers need from communications and budgeting to teamwork and presentation. It has funded the community project they complete as part of the 12-week course on more than 40 programmes with a total of around £60,000.

“Our partnership with the Prince’s Trust team at Education Training Collective has been a real success,” said UKSE Area Manager Sarah Thorpe. “These programmes are so valuable. The team members choose a community project to support then prepare a Dragons Den-style pitch to us for funding to buy equipment, paint or other items that they need. It means we are helping the team themselves and the organisation they choose benefits too.’’

Gillian Hutchinson of the Education Training Collective that delivers the Prince’s Trust Team programmes said: “We are very grateful to UKSE for the ongoing support which goes back to the days when Simon Hamilton, now its MD, was based here. The funding is a big help and the presentation the young people give to UKSE is also a valuable learning experience for them.

“Our Community Support Fund is important to us,” added Sarah. “And we have been able to help a whole raft of amazing community projects.

“It’s a lovely addition to our main role of helping businesses with finance packages of up to £1m and premises to help them create jobs in our steel areas. The Community Support Fund is all about giving really important causes a helping hand with funds and making Teesside a better and happier place to live for everyone.”

For details of UKSE’s support for businesses with finance and premises call 01642 777 888 or visit www.ukse.co.uk