‘The Who’ lead singer and Burwash resident Roger Daltrey was guest of honour as a new group of youngsters graduated from the Heathfield Works programme.
A reception at Heathfield Youth Centre was attended by Baroness Stedman-Scott OBE, DL, chief executive of Tomorrow’s People - the Heathfield Works national umbrella programme. Also there was Sussex Police Commissioner Katy Bourne.
Heathfield Works is a ten-week programme focused on unemployed youngsters in isolated rural areas which supports them in finding new opportunities. It prepares 16-24 year olds for further education and employment by encouraging the local business community to help by providing volunteering activities, work experience and ultimately paid employment by giving them as much exposure to the world of work as possible. Businesses in and around the town including law firms, stores and landscape garden companies have volunteered with enthusiasm to offer placements
It is a natural partner for Tomorrow’s People, a national employment charity that works within local communities to help disadvantaged adults and young people get and keep a job.
More than 100 supporters and graduates attended the event. Police Commissioner Katy Bourne presented a cheque for £5,000 to Heathfield councillor and local scheme instigator, Cllr Rupert Simmons who said, “It is magnificent that in just three years Heathfield Works has now helped over 120 young local people on their journey into work and further education and the money will help us continue this much needed support.”
Heathfield Works has also worked with East Sussex Wheels 2 Work which helps people from isolated areas get on the road and access work, education and training with scooter and motorcycle rental. To launch this partnership at the graduation Theo Cunningham, who is completing his apprenticeship at print and design company Printstation and cycles eight miles a day on an unlit country road to work, was presented with a motor scooter.
Mark Griffiths, Theo’s employer at Printstation, said: “Since joining the firm over a year ago Theo has proved an asset to the company and it’s a credit to him that he’s been nominated to receive the scooter.” A donation from the Police Commissioner will contribute to paying for the scooter, insuring it and safety training.
The event also marked the 50th anniversary of The Who who embark on a new UK tour soon.