A group of nine unemployed young people who created a community project to renovate Newhaven Fort’s grand magazine are up for a prestigious award at a ceremony hosted by Ant and Dec.
The young people from Sussex Downs College will represent the South East as a finalists in The Prince’s Trust and Samsung Celebrate Success Awards.
They joined forces on Team, a 12-week Prince’s Trust programme, and are now one of three groups from across the UK to be chosen as a finalist.
The Oscar-style ceremony on March 12, attended by HRH The Prince of Wales and with many celebrity guests, recognises the achievements of young people supported by the Trust who have succeeded against the odds, improved their chances in life and had a positive impact on the community.
The Newhaven group wanted to find a way to help their community and approached Newhaven Fort, a former WW1 and WW2 fort, now a wartime museum run by volunteers.
The team planned to renovate its grand magazine, which historically stored gunpowder and shells.
After fundraising for the materials they needed, they researched their subjects, then painted silhouettes of gun shells, gun powder barrels and a soldier within the magazine.
They then spent four days re-painting the large naval gun, its hand rails and safety lines.
They weeded and swept a 100m walkway, painted an exhibition through the tunnel to the gun, and accurately researched, designed and put up two large information boards in keeping with the rest of the fort.
Sue Watts, EMEA chief administrative officer at Morgan Stanley, said: “Huge congratulations to everyone in the South Downs College group for reaching the national final.
“It is admirable that these young people have gone above and beyond to improve their own lives and prospects against the odds, but it is even more impressive that they have also benefitted their local community. We wish them all the best of luck in the finals.”
Norman Baker, MP for Newhaven, said: “The effort they have gone to restore something so important to the local area showed an incredible amount of perseverance and dedication.
“Thanks to their hard work, the Newhaven Fort now has a new lease of life.
“They are a shining example of what teamwork and community spirit are all about.”
The Prince’s Trust team programme runs three times a year in September, January and May at Newhaven, Eastbourne and Hastings. Contact Camilla O’Niell, engagement administrator on 01273 511 425.