SHEFFIELD: Vulnerable young people hit by closure of project

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A PROJECT which has provided mentoring to thousands of Sheffield teenagers is set to close after quarter of a century because of cuts to funding for community and voluntary groups.

Kelvin Media Productions, formerly based at the old Kelvin Flats off Infirmary Road but now at Edmund Road Business Centre, near Bramall Lane, works with youngsters aged 13 to 19 who have not succeeded in mainstream education.

They are provided with help to learn life and work-related skills, literacy and numeracy.

The organisation also engages young people in media, film, music and photographic production.

But the organisation costs £120,000 a year to run and has lost a number of fixed grants and Sheffield Council, which is the main backer, is reducing its support.

Dez Malandain, chair to the trustees at the project, said: “We have already cut costs, reducing the number of paid staff from 10 to four but it will be difficult to reduce costs further. Our overdraft now stands at £12,000.

“We are currently helping 20 to 30 young people but when our current contract with the council runs out in July, that is likely to be the end.”

Mr Malandain said the charity provides ‘skills, opportunities, progression and confidence to some of Sheffield’s most needy and vulnerable young people’.

He added: “Today, as a direct result of the Government’s austerity programme and severe cutbacks across the sector, many organisations who provide ‘that little extra’ and who rely traditionally on local authority contracts, have been dramatically affected.

“We want to show the pointless and tragic loss of this and other invaluable small scale provisions for the vulnerable at the edge of society.”

Sheffield Council has further reduced its funding for voluntary organisations by five per cent this year from £2.8 million last year.