Mentorship scheme celebrates £25k funding boost from PCC

A mentorship project helping to rebuild the lives of people affected by drug and alcohol dependence recently welcomed Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa during a behind-the-scenes visit.

The Commissioner met volunteers and coordinators at the A Spire Higher project, managed by Chesterfield FC Community Trust at the Technique Stadium, for a first-hand insight into the work it undertakes with vulnerable people to help maintain structure and routine in their lives and open the door to a range of educational and employment opportunities.

The project, which received funding worth £24,940k in the latest round of the PCC’s Community Action Grant scheme, provides attendees with a mixture of one-to-one support, group work and physical activity.

It is a follow-on project to the award-winning A Spire Right programme – an eight-week scheme consisting of three mornings a week where participants are encouraged to get involved in positive activities to increase their personal development and self-esteem.

Project leaders aim to build on the work in the A Spire Higher project to help participants achieve and sustain freedom from drug and alcohol dependence and secure future educational and work opportunities.

Mr Dhindsa said: “A Spire Higher is making a meaningful difference to these people’s lives, helping them to overcome immediate difficulties as well as the barriers to employment and education and generally raising their aspirations.

“The project is built on four years of success with the A Spire Right programme and the volume of people waiting to join the scheme is testament to its positive results.

“I would like to thank the project coordinators for giving me such a detailed and helpful insight into the work underway to turn vulnerable people from crime and dependencies, which we know devastates lives.”

As part of the project, mentors train some participants to become peer mentors themselves, providing micro-jobs as an important first step into the world of work.

Scott Atkinson, head of education and wellbeing at Chesterfield FC Community Trust, said: “We’re extremely grateful to the Commissioner for his support to enable us to extend our award-winning work in helping people to achieve freedom from substance misuse addiction.

“I was delighted that during his visit he was able to meet some of the former participants of our programme who are now in paid employment with the Trust. We currently have five members of staff who have come through the project, working in a variety of areas from hospitality to youth engagement.”

During the visit, Mr Dhindsa formally presented a cheque for the funding and was also able to meet organisers of the club’s Camp Inspire programme, which offers diversionary activities for young people aged four to 18 throughout the summer holidays at the Technique Stadium.

This project was recently successful in applying for a grant worth £8k from the PCC’s Initiatives Fund to support its work.

The Trust engaged with 150 children registered to the scheme, with a significant number of young people also on a waiting list.