AN exhibition celebrating people who have secured work or have boosted their career prospects after taking part in a unique programme is set to tour the Tees Valley.

I Am Step Forward, features more than 30 images which highlight the benefits the programme has brought for its participants.

The images were specially-commissioned to showcase what people taking part in Step Forward Tees Valley feel they had gained from being part of the programme.

Step Forward Tees Valley gives one-to-one support to people to help them overcome issues that are stopping them finding work or training.

Since it began three years ago, the charity has helped hundreds of people overcome barriers, boost their self esteem and move forward with their lives. Many have started work, training or volunteering for the first time.

John, from Darlington, was lonely and suffered from low esteem before joining the scheme. He said: “Step Forward has helped me overcome the many obstacles I have had in my life. I now have confidence, feel happy and am looking forward to the future.”

I Am Step Forward will launch in Darlington indoor market before touring venues in Stockton, Hartlepool, Redcar, Thornaby and Billingham. The exhibitions will be held in public spaces and will be free to enter. Each photograph will be accompanied by the story of the participant who will explain how the programme has helped them.

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Building a better future

Kevin Seed, Acting Programme Manager for the charity, said: “We are delighted to have curated this very special exhibition which celebrates the Step Forward programme and the benefits people have experienced from taking part. We hope the exhibition will not only mark the achievements of those who have achieved so much, but will also encourage others to become involved in the programme.”

The exhibition launches in Darlington's covered market on Friday, June 7.