Water company Severn Trent has helped a trio of martial art instructors set up an alternative education centre.
A £9,000 grant has been used by Kev Ayre, Matt Smith and Josh Wardle to create Beyond Youth Project, which is helping to fill the gap for vulnerable and disadvantaged youngsters who fail to thrive in the classroom due to a range of issues.
The organisation based at the trio’s Beyond Black Belt mixed martial arts school in the High Street provides Prince’s Trust qualifications, vocational studies and health and wellbeing through a physical education programme.
The money from the Severn Trent Community Fund has helped to transform the existing building into classrooms, functional training areas, break out rooms and a music studio.
“Some of these kids have had truly heart-breaking lives,” said Kev. “Their troubled backgrounds have impacted their behaviours, which means they don’t settle very well in mainstream school. Other kids are just not suited to academia and become restless in classes, which means they miss out on learning and the chance of a bright future.”
He added: “The funding we have received from Severn Trent has made a huge difference. Without it, we would not have been able to start our school as the space wouldn’t have been functional.
“We are hugely grateful to Severn Trent for helping us to make a huge difference to the lives of so many kids in Burton.”
Severn Trent serves thousands of firms and homes across Staffordshire and beyond, and has given away millions of pounds to local charities and community groups in its region over recent years.
Jade Gough, Severn Trent’s Community Fund Officer, said: “It was fantastic to see the project, now that it is all up and running.
“It’s such an incredible programme and Kev and the team are truly inspirational, helping so many teenagers get the best possible start in life.
“This is exactly what our Community Fund was set up for and we wish everyone the very best of luck in the future.”