DoorWays charity in Saltburn feels the cold due to funding cuts

Darlington and Stockton Times: (L-R) DoorWays project co-ordinator, John Pearson and youth support worker, John Thompson, who is losing his job due to funding cuts (L-R) DoorWays project co-ordinator, John Pearson and youth support worker, John Thompson, who is losing his job due to funding cuts

A CHARITY helping marginalised young people across east Cleveland is struggling to survive due to funding cuts.

DoorWays, based in Saltburn, works with locals aged 13 to 25 who are often from rural, isolated communities facing unemployment or homelessness.

By raising aspirations and self belief, project co-ordinator, John Pearson, and youth support worker, John Thompson, guide vulnerable teenagers including young offenders through the maze of college courses, mock interviews, phone techniques and job applications as well as offering emotional advice and tips on health and nutrition.

The duo also give food parcels to those in need and have reached out to ‘Neets’ (not in education, employment or training) by knocking on the doors of their homes or ‘warm calling’ to try and connect and improve lives.

Mr Pearson said: “We do not pick up the easiest kids, ours are the hard to reach ones so we have to work twice as hard as anyone else to get an outcome.”

“A young girl who was living in Brotton was given the opportunity to get an apprenticeship in Middlesbrough which would have meant getting an early morning bus, but her first response was “I can’t do that”.”

“They might want to do something different but there’s an entrenched fear. If you can just find something they can do you can build on that and say to them “now we have done that, what else is on the list?”. It’s about using inspirational language to work on their values and beliefs to empower them,” Mr Pearson explained.

However, the charity led by Saltburn Christian Projects launched in 1998 which costs between £52,000 and £56,000 each year to operate, is in financial crisis due to a lack of funding streams.

Mr Thompson is losing his job this week and to reduce running costs Mr Pearson is moving DoorWays from the station buildings across the street to an office in Destinations learning centre.

“The needs of the people are desperate, they are going up all the time so the private sector, the public sector and the voluntary sector needs to work together in true partnership,” he said.

Mr Pearson will still be offering a drop-in service as well as doing outreach work and several other new initiatives.

“I’m totally fired up for the future, you have to recognise problems but also all the opportunities that are out there,” he added.

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