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On 16 June we were delighted to be invited back to Rainbow Services to join in welcoming Robert Halfon, MP for Harlow to their Youth Project.

The Youth Project, funded by the Essex VVU and the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, is for 14 to 18 year olds who have disengaged from education, sometimes as a result of getting involved with gangs and antisocial behaviour. The project aims to reengage these young people with positive role models and education through a 12 week carpentry course at its workshop in Harlow.

Following the carpentry course, the young people go on to a variety of other courses and activities including Fire Break at Harlow Fire Station, Police Cadets, work experience and apprenticeships.

Robert Halfon met and chatted to some of the young people in the workshop, along with other supporters and funders of the Youth Project, such as HTS Group environmental and property maintenance services and Harlow Police. The invited guests shared their thoughts on the positive impact of the course, not just on the participants, but also the wider community.

Sharon Summerfield, CEO for Rainbow Services said: “We are so proud of our project and the young people we work with. Our team of staff and volunteers are amazing, and over the years have changed the lives of so many young people, showing them there are alternative, positive ways of living, earning money, and belonging to a community.”

We are also pleased to share some lovely news that two young people from the project received over the weekend. One student has been awarded the Jack Petchey Achievement Award for commitment to their schoolwork. Despite personal circumstances, they have kept up to date with schoolwork, working independently, and regularly attending after-school clubs and plays, showing a real determination to succeed. The second student has been awarded the Jack Petchey Achievement Award for their motivation and support in school and community. They have pushed themselves in their work, providing invaluable help to the technology department, and regularly undertaking volunteer work.

The Jack Petchey Achievement Award Scheme recognises outstanding young people aged 11-25 across London and Essex. Jack Petchey Achievement Award winners are young people who have gone above and beyond to achieve – perhaps when others thought they might fail.