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Indiana Young and the schools crusade

Reporter: Lucy Kenderdine
Date online: 19 March 2014

POLITICIANS and policy makers from America have come to Oldham to learn about a project helping poorer Oldham teenagers to get ahead.

A US Congress delegation visited two schools taking part in programmes run by youth charity Teens and Toddlers. The projects, which have been running since October 2012, benefit two sets of vulnerable children at once, giving at-risk 14 and 15-year-olds the chance to become mentors and role models for the nursery-age children.

The delegation, which included Indiana Republican congressman Todd Young, met the project’s organisers and participants. The delegation could recommend implementing similar initiatives in America.

Congressman Young, who represents a district in Indiana, said: “Countries including the United States are struggling with limited resources so we have to think about new ways we can help those most in need,” he said.

“Over the last few days we have been meeting with different people, government officials, policy makers and financial teams, who have explained how projects such as this one work.

“It was also important to us to visit the programmes themselves, to see how they work and speak to some of the young people and discover how it has made a impact in their lives.”

The congressman is drafting legislation to allow similar projects to be set up in America.

Yesterday’s visitors went to St Hilda’s primary school, which links with students from Royton and Crompton School on the project, and Oasis Academy Limeside, which is teamed with Failsworth High School. More than 1,000 young people from disadvantaged areas in the North-West benefit from the project.

The programme is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions and runs in schools across Oldham, Salford, Manchester, Bolton, and Tameside.

Since it was founded in 2001, Teens and Toddlers has helped more than 9,500 young people and vulnerable children in more than 34 local authorities.

 

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