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Big Lottery win aims to help kickstart Leys teens’ careers
YOUNG people in Blackbird Leys have received almost half a million pounds in funding from the Big Lottery Fund.
The Leys Community Development Initiative (CDI), which helps young people aged between nine and 25 on the estate, has been awarded £499,078.
It will fund the Vision Transition project over the next four years.
Vision Transition will see young people take control in organising non-academic activities, including music, dance, art and film sessions, that will help develop their careers.
Chairman of the charity’s trustees, David Truesdale said: “In 2010 we won about £400,000 in Lottery funding which finally finished in November last year.
“This time the young people themselves have been very involved in how to plan the project and run it.
“We’ll be using it for a variety of things over the next few years, all around opportunities for young people.”
The scheme is continuing the work started through the charity’s previous Lottery-funded project, YP2.
YP2 was set up to reduce youth unemployment on the estate and had twice-weekly drop-in sessions, which helped young people job hunt and improve their CVs.
Some of the new money will be spent on paying the salaries of youth work staff, a large portion of it will be placed into a pot to help pay for the activities the young people want to run, and the rest will go towards setting up an innovation lab.
The innovation lab, inspired by similar projects run by Unicef, will act as a hub for young people on the estate to visit.
There, young people will be able to embark on technology projects to share experiences and ideas to develop a strong voice on the Leys.
Describing the work of Vision Transition project, Mr Truesdale said: “It builds their skills and confidence.
“We have all sorts of children come into the project, but some of them don’t have such wonderful home lives or don’t get on at school so well.
“This is an opportunity for them to come in and feel safe and gain new experiences that may lead them to employment one day.”
Mr Truesdale said: “It looks like we got the largest allocation of money in the South East.
“This secures us a future for a while. We have always been hand to mouth. We will still have to fundraise, but it’s different now.
“Everyone has worked so hard to bring in this grant.
“The young people themselves have played a vital role in the preparation of this bid and will play a central role in the management of the Vision Transition project over the next four years.
“This is fantastic for Oxford and fantastic for Blackbird Leys .”
Leys CDI Youth Management Committee member Fabian Audifferen, 16, said: “Although this sounds like a cliché, this grant will further motivate us to follow our dreams to reach life’s potential.”
John Hayes, a development worker from Oxfordshire Community Volunteering Action, which helped Leys CDI write the complex funding bid, said: “This was one of the most enjoyable bids I’ve ever worked on. Staff, volunteers and service users were actively and intensively working and reworking the bid right up to final submission deadline.”
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