Ultimate Products helps Positive Steps to support Oldham's young people and their families

Date published: 05 January 2021

Locally-based consumer goods business Ultimate Products has been continuing its support of Positive Steps, a charity that provides a range of services for young people, adults and families across the Oldham community.

In a bid to assist Positive Steps’ work with young carers and young people who, due to a lack of equipment, have been faced with difficulties in keeping up with schooling and staying connected with case workers, family and friends, Ultimate Products has donated more than 150 tablets, with the aim of helping to tackle social isolation and the emerging issue of digital poverty.

The company intends to sustain this initiative for as long as it continues to make a difference to the lives of Oldham’s young carers and other vulnerable groups such as young people with experience of the care system and those making transitions into education, employment and training.

The impact so far has been clear, with young people using their tablets for homework, catching up with missed schoolwork, and keeping in touch with friends and family during lockdown.

The positive effects have been recorded by Positive Steps, which keeps track of feedback online (LINK).

Highlights include:

Over 90% of respondents said that having a tablet made them feel less isolated at home

Nearly 60% of respondents reported sharing their tablet with other family members

School work and homework was reported to be most common tablet-based activity 

Ultimate Products has also been supporting Positive Steps via its ‘UP small grants fund’, a form of quick-response funding available for young people in Oldham as they transition into work, training or further education.

This scheme takes the form of small grants of up to £250 and has been used to fund needs as varied as uniforms, interview clothes, course fees, course equipment and bus passes.

By avoiding the bureaucracy of other forms of funding, Ultimate Products and Positive Steps are able to react quickly, giving young people a stronger chance to be able to stick with their placements and education.

Steph Bolshaw, Chief Executive of Positive Steps, said: “Across Positive Steps we support some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people with an ethos of helping them take control of their lives and transform their life chances.

"This challenge increased exponentially when COVID-19 started to take effect.

"The amazing commitment of, and the contributions from, Ultimate Products - and the commitment and dedication of our staff - have helped make the future for some of our young people and their families a little brighter, and provided them with a reason to look forward and believe in themselves."

Andrew Gossage, Managing Director of Ultimate Products, added: "As a long-standing employer in the Oldham area, we are acutely aware of our responsibilities to the community in which we operate.

"We saw that there was a need for young people in Oldham to access IT to enable them to engage with their studies, but also to socialise with peers and family.

"Donating tablets has helped to keep these young people connected, engaged, and helped to avoid feelings of isolation and loneliness.

"Meanwhile, the UP small grants fund ensures that young people can travel to, and fully participate in, employment, training and apprenticeship opportunities.

"We are immensely proud to be able to provide such practical and financial support to those in need and will continue to do as necessary."

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