COALFIELDS FUNDING PROVIDES A GATEWAY TO EMPLOYMENT AND SUPPORT Gateway North East, the Sunderland and Durham based charity that provides skills and development training for local residents who have learning difficulties, has received just under £10,000 in funding thanks to Coalfields Community Investment Programme. The funding, totalling £9,980, has allowed the charity to further extend its skills, development and training programmes which are offered to local residents aged between 14-25 years with learning difficulties. Emotional, physical and practical support is available to anyone attending Gateway North East’s sessions and ensures they have the opportunity to build up their skill sets, allowing them to take steps towards living independently and finding employment. Recently, the work delivered by Gateway North East has led them to being recognised as ‘Leaders in Disability Achievement’, highlighting the impact they have had on local people’s lives. Joanne Fearn, Chief Executive Officer for Gateway North East, comments: “We are increasingly becoming reliant upon grants and funding as local authority services continue to decline. The Coalfields funding has allowed us to continue to support disabled residents with educational sessions, meaningful work experience and coaching opportunities and training.” “By encouraging achievement through alternative means and focusing on what children and young people can do, rather than what they can’t do, we are able to equip them with a positive attitude to life and help them to be more ambitious and reach their potential.” Andy Lock, Head of Operations (England) for the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, comments: “The work Gateway North East delivers is critical if local people with learning difficulties are to lead independent lives and also find employment.” “Coalfields communities have suffered from a lack of funding in recent years and by redirecting the resources needed to charities such as Gateway North East we are able to ensure that former mining towns and villages are not left behind.” As the organisation has become a member of Coalfield Community Investment Programme it will continue to be supported by the Trust and will have access to bespoke practical support including access to resources and services such as help with third-party funding applications and bid-writing, to tips on effective promotion and marketing.