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Executive Summary 

Pennywell Youth Project has operated in the heart of the Pennywell community for over 30 years, working in partnership with local and citywide organisations. We have a purpose built building in heart of the community that is open 5 days a week. We are an established community resource designed to enhance local people’s life chances and opportunities. We work with people who face extreme disadvantage because of their encomic and social position, have many daily complex challenges, being disproportionality at risk.

 The Charity’s objects (Objects) are in the interests of social welfare to provide for the benefit of the Pennywell and surrounding areas, city-wide and regional to Tyne and Wear (Area of Benefit) a youth project and general community resource the purpose of which is to:

- promote therein and in the Area of Benefit and in particular to encourage provision for the benefit of in particular young people but also the wider community so as to relieve poverty, advance education and improve the condition of life for the said inhabitants; and

-  redress all forms of inequality and to ensure equality of opportunity for the general public and, in particular, young people to fulfil their potential as empowered individuals and members of groups and communities, and to support young people during the transition to adulthood.

Pennywell Youth Project:


-Deliver services to increase the employability of young people and local residents

-Encourage young people and local residents to become more independent, improve their self-esteem and confidence

-Support young people and their families by providing information and programmes that will allow them easy access services and training

-Combat anti-social behaviour through learning life-skills, personal development and additional training activities

-Offer services to the local community that improve health, well-being and the social and economic position of residents

The estate suffers from extreme poverty and deprivation, is ranked in the top 10% on the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) making it one of the highest wards of deprivation in England.  Located in the St. Ann’s electoral ward, where the Sunderland Child Poverty Strategy Needs Assessment (SCPSNA) identifies that 58.3% of children (0-19) are living in poverty, NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) figures for young people in the ward are higher than compared to across the city. 


Key factors in the SCPSNA report show that financial inclusion, access to facilities and services, health services, teenage pregnancy, relationship breakdown, crime and substance misuse directly influence a family’s ability to enter and sustain well paid employment and escape the poverty trap.  The poorest area in the St Anne’s Ward is nationally  ranked 936 out of 32,844 for Employment, 361 for Education, Skills and Training and 394 for income out of 32,844 (one being the most deprived 32,844 being the least). The evidence demonstrates that local residents are at a disproportionate risk, lacking a sense of identity and self worth. As a result many experience poor outcomes and fail to reach their full potential.

We are a very well established and trusted organisation on the estate. Our model of working is to provide a seamless pathway from work with junior youth club members through to senior youth work leading into informal and formal education provision, training and employability skills work and community programmes. 

We have, and continue to, develop relationships with partner agencies and funders to maintain our role and reputation as a lead agency, deliver projects and services to children, young people, and adults across some of the most disadvantaged areas.



Our Values

Pennywell Youth Project’s work with children, young people, young adults and local residents  is about actively improving the life chances and experiences of young people and young adults.  Our services are designed to improve outcomes for young people and the local community and underpinning our business plan is our commitment to:

  • equality and inclusion through young people and residents having a voice in influencing decisions that affect them and their community

  • partnership work with a range of statutory and voluntary agencies to deliver a high quality and appropriate programme of support

  • achieving the best value for available resources


Our Community Development History

In September 2017 we inherited a group of residents from our local school, Academy 360 who were part of their Community Learning Zone. The management conducted an audit of the provision which resulted in it being deployed to Pennywell Youth Project as we were better placed and experienced to support the facility.

This gave us access to local residents who were now using our centre on a regular basis to access English and Math’s courses provided by Sunderland College, Pennywell’s Community Choir ran by a local residents with support from the Workers Education Authority, art, needle work and others.  In the transition period some services were curtailed due to the current capacity and funding for PYP to support community learning. This included a local drop in where residents could come for a chill and chat. The drop in was the catalyst for local residents accessing other services as it provided an informal, non clinical environment, supporting residents onto their pathway of dignity and independence.

Through further and continuous discussions with residents it emerged that there was a common theme running through the current issues that residents were experiencing which were unemployment, lack of food and isolation. The idea of a community café ran by the unemployed for the unemployed began to evolve, they wanted to have access to the internet as they had limited or no access and only knew how to use social media. When the opportunity for funding presented itself the project manager consulted with other local residents who agreed that the idea was great as it would provide vital support to the community. Sunderland's community led local development (CLLD) programme emerged and were successful in obtaining funding.


Before lock down we consulted with residents again regarding what they would like to develop at the centre, the main areas were the community café, create a community shop, develop a local food bank, extend and develop the community garden. We received funding from the Community Foundation and were able to employ a volunteer coordinator as we had many local residents wanting to be involved. Covid19 witnessed many funders wanting to provide community support to assist charities to adapt and response to the challenges of the pandemic. This gave us the finance and opportunity to develop and establish the social action projects.

The Future

However, unfortunately that money has been spent but our residents still need these social action projects and want to give something back. They are still operating but on a much smaller scale. Recent consultation with the residents has identified that they still want to continue and extend the projects. Local volunteers gained skills and qualifications over this period and many who had been economically inactive or unemployed moved into the labour market due to their experiences, skills and qualifications gained in supporting these social action projects. Our aim is to secure funds to sustain the social action projects and develop the scale and scope of the project to employ a full time placement officer who can formally work in collaborations with the commercial and statutory sector, providing formal local placements and qualifications creating long term impact in enhancing the communities social, economic and environmental position.

Covid19 Support:

  •  Delivered over 3,000 activity packs to keep young people stimulated, engaged and sustain academic progress.

  • Delivered over 3,500 care packages to children young people and local residents to support their emotion wellbeing

  • Delivered various competitions and prizes including bingo via our Facebook page (attracted over 2,000 people watching and participating

  • Community Shop remained open

  • Delivered over 1, 500 food parcels to local residents

  • Phone appointments

  • One to One appointments with the Community Champion

  • Community Café was changed to an organized cooking club following government guidance ( 5 days a week)

  • Youth Club remained open following government guidance 4 days a week

  • Purchased 80 computers with  30 dongles to enable residents and young people can access the internet to offer remote and online support for those who do not have digital devices and Wi-Fi in the home

  • Delivered online teaching for our College Programme to our 16 – 18 year old students

  • Supported over 40 residents with winter fuel payments

  • Full time access 24/7 to our Community Garden

  • Distributed 30 croc pots with cooking utensils and on line cooking programmes, one pot Peg and cooking with Cass

  • Delivered food hampers to feed families over Christmas and New Year 70 families totaling over 280 individuals

  • Fed a further 80 families during the winter holiday periods


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