Norwich youth project gets New Deal project director backing

One of the first project directors of the New Deal Community project in Norwich has supported an Evening News campaign to support the long-term future of a Norwich youth project.

Bill Espie, pictured, who was the first project director of North Earlham, Larkman, Marlpit New Deal for Communities, said that the project was 'unique' and was giving children prospects.

NELM Development Trust was set up as a charitable company to administer the New Deal for Communities funding that was awarded to the North Earlham, Larkman and Marlpit areas of Norwich.

This funding programme ended last year and had been used to fund various projects and activities aimed at improving the quality of life for people who live in the area.

NELM supported Future Projects, formally known as the NR5 project in its early days. Mr Espie set up the Facebook page Future Education shortly after he heard that the charity had lost funding from Norfolk County Council earlier this summer.

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'It all started with Dawn and Sonya's project NR5, which took excluded kids and got them back into mainstream education.

'It came from the fact that it dealt with getting the kids back into mainstream education. Everyone was always very supportive,' he said.

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'Having worked on two other NDCs (New Deal for Community projects), I can tell you that what they do is fairly unique.

'They are taking kids who have already been excluded from school and giving them a reasonable education.'

He said that giving the children GCSEs gave them prospects and that often, those who did not have those qualifications would turn to drug dealing.

'If you have got no education or job then the only thing open to you is the black market and that was always one of the things we were very wary of.

'The whole trick of it was how they engaged with the kids.'

He also criticised the procurement process saying it 'flew in the face of common sense'.

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