John Lewis donates £100,000 to Youth Zone Darwen

By Tim Aldred

24 Nov 2022

john-lewis-youth-zone-darwen.jpg

The John Lewis Foundation Trust has donated £100,000 to Youth Zone Darwen to help improve the employment prospects of young people in the town.

The funding will be used to extend the Youth Zone’s dedicated Employment Team who will work with businesses, including Youth Zone Darwen Patrons, to identify opportunities for youngsters  and to ensure they have the right skills.

Youth Zone was encouraged to apply for the funding by Herbert Parkinson, the Darwen-based company which has supplied textile products such as soft furnishings, duvets and made-to-measure curtains to John Lewis since 1953.

Stuart McDonald, partner and head of Herbert Parkinson, said: "We were approached by Youth Zone Darwen to become patrons and, after hearing about the valuable work they are doing there, we encouraged them to apply to the John Lewis Foundation for funding.

"We know that this donation will be put to really good use, supporting young people in the town into jobs."

Wayne Wild, trustee at Youth Zone Darwen and chair of the Darwen Town Deal, said: "We are absolutely blown away by the generosity of John Lewis in awarding Youth Zone Darwen £100,000.

"This is going to make a huge difference to the lives of young people in Darwen through the Blackburn and Darwen Youth Zone Employability Scheme.

"Being able to apply for funding like this has only been made possible through the support of our patrons including Herbert Parkinson, who, in under a year, helped us smash the original fundraising target of £250,000. Their support really has been invaluable and will continue to be so."

The Youth Zone provision launched in Darwen during the pandemic but was only ever supposed to be temporary.

However, due to the demand for services, the fundraising drive was launched to make it permanent with extended opening hours to ensure no youngster was turned away.

Hannah Allen, CEO of Youth Zone Blackburn and Darwen, said: "We couldn’t quite believe it when we received the email to say that we were being awarded £100,000 from John Lewis & Partners – it is the largest, single business donation we have ever received.

"The funding will allow us to extend the fantastic services already being supported by our 11 patrons and Blackburn with Darwen Council. These services are changing lives in the town.

"The focus of this new funding will be on creating new jobs for our youngsters through our Employability Team – helping give them the very best start to their working lives and inspiring them to fulfil their potential."

Enjoyed this? Read more from Tim Aldred

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