New project for trainees is taking off in Llanelli
YOUNGSTERS have heaped praise on a new Llanelli-based project sending their hopes and dreams skywards.
Rathbone Cymru aims to propel 11 to 25-year-olds out of despair and boredom and into education and work through a three-year programme.
The Big Lottery-backed Launch Pad is designed to give them the training, skills and drive that bosses are looking for, as well as the chance to take part in sport, music and drama activities.
The scheme was launched at Llanelli Town Hall last week with a party which included live music and dance performances by some of the young people already involved.
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Among them was Ashleigh Thorley, 17, of Pant Bryn Isaf, who said: "It's really interesting.
"It's a much better way for young people to learn because they bring fun to it — it's more engaging."
Another, Angharad Bowen, also 17, said: "I think it's fabulous, it gives me a chance to gain skills through things that I am actually interested in, like drama."
Open weekdays and evenings from Monday to Thursday, Launch Pad will be staffed by a team which includes youth engagement workers, who will help young people in their own communities, information and participation workers, who will run workshops and provide mentoring, and skill shop staff who will provide advice on employment.
Around 60 youngsters have already signed up to the scheme, which is being backed by a Big Lottery grant of £470,000.
Youth engagement worker Andrew James said: "Our aim is to become a second family for these young people."
Support sessions for young parents are also on the agenda, and all of this will happen under one roof — at Rathbone's base in Station Road.
Janine Hailey, the area manager for Wales, said the scheme aimed to help more than 1,400 young people across the county and would work with other social and community groups.
Paolo Piana, of the Llanelli Multicultural Network, said: "A lot of young people tell me that they feel marginalised from the rest of their community.
"I'm saddened by that, I think collectively we have a duty of care to support young people.
"We look forward to working with Launch Pad into the future."