Backing for youth zone’s critical work
A training specialist that thrives on getting disadvantaged people back into employment has thrown its support behind The Way Youth Zone.
Wolverhampton-based National Infrastructure Solutions, which was started by former Royal Marine and professional footballer Davie Carns, is the latest firm to become a patron to one of the city’s most important charities.
The company has made a significant donation as part of the deal and this will help the organisation build on its crucial work in supporting more than 600 young people aged between eight and 18 every week with access to sports facilities, recording studios, group activities, arts and crafts and cooking lessons.
It has also encouraged its 40-strong workforce to volunteer and is exploring ways in which it can help provide employability skills and highlight career opportunities in rail, civil engineering, and construction.
“We are a firm that was born in Wolverhampton, and we are very passionate about the place we call home – this made the decision to support the amazing work The Way does very easy,” explained Davie Carns, managing director of NIS.
“Since it was opened in 2016, more than 16,400 people have been supported, many of whom live in some of the most deprived areas of our city. These children will have little access to the types of facilities that The Way provides, and some of them may even go hungry without the free meals that were in place during the winter months.”
He continued: “One of the other key features is the ability to raise aspirations. The individuals who go here during the week and at weekends are our future and the next generation of workers. We must show them they can build good careers if they work hard.
“That’s why NIS has become a patron. We believe in the excellent work the organisation undertakes and we believe that we may have the contacts and the employability skills that could make a difference going forward.”
The Way Youth Zone is a youth-led, state-of-the-art space for young people aged 8-18 and up to 25 years-old for those with additional needs.
It costs more than £1.3 million to run the venue every year and, whilst funding from generous city patrons – including the City of Wolverhampton College and the City of Wolverhampton Council – is in place, the centre still relies heavily on the support of local businesses and private donors.
The donations go towards the maintenance of a multi-use games area, a fitness centre, boxing gym, recording studio, kitchen, sensory room, and a large indoor climbing wall.
There are also arts and crafts sessions, fashion design, podcast recording facilities and a café that serves nutritious hot meals for just £1, as well as snacks and drinks.
All of this is available for £5 membership per year and 50p per session, with The Way open six days per week.
Susan Barlow, head of fundraising at The Way Youth Zone, added her support: “We are really pleased to be adding NIS to our Patrons and look forward to building a strategic relationship, where we can also leverage its strong employability skills and expertise in training.
“Following Covid-19 we lost a lot of supporters, and we are only slowly beginning to get more corporates involved again. Having Davie and his team banging the drum will be great in hopefully engaging more businesses in the city and surrounding areas.
“We are also on a big volunteer recruitment drive. They are at the heart of everything we do and for people looking to get involved, we can be a great way to make a real difference to your local community.”
NIS, which has also committed to give 2.5 per cent of its annual net profits to good causes, runs courses that are available for both newcomers to rail, civil engineering, and construction and those already working in the three sectors who want to upskill and develop their knowledge further.
It works extremely closely with City of Wolverhampton College, who together operate an advanced rail training centre at the Wellington Road Campus in Bilston that is helping to train hundreds of people for projects including HS2.
Peter Merry, Deputy Chief Executive of City of Wolverhampton College, said: “As a founding patron of The Way, the College takes immense pride in its pivotal role in shaping the lives of young people across the city.
“Working in collaboration with our partner, NIS, together we are all poised to make an exponential impact, providing exciting opportunities for young people that will set Wolverhampton apart from surrounding areas."