More than 20 young people have been given the chance to transform their lives after a sponsor came forward to fund their participation in a ground-breaking project.
Beverley-based Deflog VQ Trust has donated £75,000 to help further the work of youth development charity Cat Zero in the East Riding.
Cat Zero helps young people from challenging backgrounds into employment, education and training by taking them out of their comfort zones to achieve their personal goals.
Deflog is sponsoring two groups of 14 young people through the 12-week programme.
Dave Bertholini, Development Manager at Cat Zero, said: “Deflog’s support is a massive help to the charity, not only enabling us to continue the work we are doing but also expand into the East Riding.
“It enables us to work with 28 more young people from challenging backgrounds and enables them to move on in life and into employment.
“The two charities working together will benefit from learning from each other. We both work in similar sectors but with slightly different client groups and in different ways.
“The experience will be life changing for the young people involved. We are three quarters of the way through the programme with the first group and we have seen some big opportunities to support them. The main thing we do is find out what their underlying issues are and respond to them, which helps everything else fall into place.”
The young people being sponsored by Deflog are all long-term unemployed but have made a choice to change their lives. They were selected after an intensive recruitment process, which included a 24-hour, outdoor challenge.
As part of their programme, they ran a pop-up café for more than 20 guests, including Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart, at Deflog’s headquarters in Beverley.
Mr Bertholini said: “The café day enables them to meet people from different backgrounds and create a real-life, working environment.
“They have to prepare everything from the menus to the food and serve it to their guests. It also gives them an opportunity to develop life skills around healthy eating.”
Paul Downey, Chief Executive of the Deflog VQ Trust, said: “Cat Zero is making a real difference to the lives of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“It gives them the opportunity to challenge themselves and set a new course in life, which will benefit not only themselves but the wider community as well.
“It’s been amazing to see the transformation in the young people since the start of the programme. Several of them have already said they want to continue their training with us once they have finished at Cat Zero.”
Jenny Shaw, 24, from Nafferton, signed up for the programme because she was unable to find a permanent job.
She said: “I have done every job you could think of. I’ve been a labourer, worked in a restaurant and at a racing stable. Just recently, I got my security licence to work as a bouncer but I was still finding it difficult to get work.
“Then someone told me about this programme. It’s a once in a lifetime chance and I wasn’t going to throw it away. I love being on the programme and I’ve done things I thought I would never be able to do.”
Her goal once she has finished the programme is to get a customer service qualification and a full time job.
She added: “I want a job where I am working 40 hours a week and being offered overtime. I want to work my way up in the security industry and build a nice life for myself.”
Deflog VQ Trust, which is based in Riverview Road, Beverley, provides civilian qualifications to members of the Armed Forces and owns TIR Training, a leading provider of driver training, Apprenticeships and employability training to the logistics sector.
It operates as an educational trust, with a charitable remit to promote education and learning in the military and wider community.
Cat Zero was set up five years ago after 10 young people from challenging backgrounds helped to crew the Hull and Humber yacht in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.
Since then the charity has helped more than 500 people into employment, education or training, a success rate of more than 65 per cent. It’s estimated that over five years it has saved the taxpayer £14 million in the cost of these people remaining long term unemployed.
Category Zero, or Cat Zero, is the rating for vessels registered to navigate all international waters with no limits.
The climax to the programme sees participants taking part in an 8-day sailing challenge on board a 72-foot Challenger yacht as a full crew member, where they are tested to their limits and have to work as a team.