AutismAble is one of 44 youth projects in England selected to receive a Youth Investment Fund grant of up to £478,225. This grant is part of the Government’s National Youth Guarantee and represents a ground-breaking opportunity to prioritise the needs of young people, providing them with life-changing services and contributing to the creation of a more equitable society for future generations.
South Shields-based J & S Joinery North East Ltd have been selected to deliver the contract to completely renovate the property on Fowler Street, and create a modern, welcoming, up-to-date engagement and learning environment for young people.
Architect designs show plans for a state-of-the-art training café, ICT suite, woodwork facility, media and film studios and offices. It will also be fully accessible with lift facilities, making it more accessible for those with disabilities or additional access needs.
The contractors are starting the project on the 30th of October and expect that the renovations will be completed by the end of April 2024.
In addition, over the next 12 months, AutismAble will receive a revenue grant of up to £70,000 which can be accessed to grow a new Youth Provision including staffing and marketing costs.
The Government hopes that this funding will help as many as 12,000 extra 11 to 18-year-olds across the country have access to regular, positive activities every year, in addition to the thousands of young people who already enjoy these opportunities.
Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said:
“I want every young person to have the opportunity to access the kinds of life-changing activities which expand their horizons and allow them to develop vital life skills.”
“We will make sure every young person has someone to talk to, something to do, somewhere to go.”
Nick Temple, CEO for Social Investment Business, that leads the delivery partnership said:
“The Youth Investment Fund is all about prioritising the needs of young people in England and creating a more equal society for future generations. It is wonderful to see how the fund is already transforming young people’s opportunities to experience the joy of local youth services designed for, and by, young people. Today’s announcement means another 12,000 young people can access quality, sustainable and accessible youth clubs.”
“It is so exciting to see the first Youth Investment Fund projects open their doors to young people, giving them every opportunity to make friends, have fun, discover their passions, and thrive. And it is just the start: thousands more young people will benefit from new or expanded local youth services, supporting their wellbeing and helping them gain vital skills for life and work.”
Claire Harland from winning Contractor J&S Joinery (North East) Limited said:
“As a North East company, J&S Joinery are excited to be part of this community project. We are thrilled to be able to support AutismAble and make a difference in our local area.“
Welcoming the Youth Investment Fund grant is Andrew Forster, Service Development Director for AutismAble. He said:
“We are immensely grateful to the Youth Investment Fund for this award which will pave the way for a state-of-the-art facility tailored to the needs and aspirations of young autistic people”.
“With help from our young people’s steering group, we made sure the project was young-person-led. Through consultations, these young individuals provided invaluable insights into what they envisioned for a youth provision, even assisting in developing the plans alongside our architect”.
“A significant portion of our proposed activities are open access and we are eager to unveil a high-quality facility that not only caters to our own groups but is also available to others in the community.”