Panto star chips in to aid Blackpool youth team

The team from Support the Youth collecting in Blackpool get a little help from Su Pollard.
The team from Support the Youth collecting in Blackpool get a little help from Su Pollard.
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A new Blackpool charity working to help young people on the road to employment got a helping hand with its first fund-raising event.

Members of Support the Youth, based at Squires Gate, were out and about with a street collection when panto star Su Pollard stopped to find out all about them.

As well as making a donation, Su – who played the wicked queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Grand in Blackpool – joined the team for a photograph and wished them well with their efforts.

The community interest company was started in March by Sam Smith who ran a car wash businesses for 15 years.

Having worked with young people at his sites and organised training he realised that many needed help with fundamental employment skills and wanted to do something to help.

He sold the business and launched the charity with the help of a £10,000 National Lottery grant to find premises.

It is run by volunteers including Jonathan Stamp who works for Clifton Quality Meats as a business development manager.

Jonathan said: “A lot of young people some from challenging backgrounds and leave school lacking the skills needed to get on in life.

“Support the Youth aims to help them through various means.

“We were collecting in Blackpool recently as we have found it difficult to get further funding because of being a newly-founded organisation and Sue Pollard was walking past.

“She stopped and asked all about what we were hoping to achieve.

“We asked for a photo and she was only too happy to do it. She was lovely.”

The organisation is based at the Skyways commercial campus off Amy Johnston Way and founder Sam Smith said Blackpool historically has had high rates of youth unemployment which needed addressing.

He said: “After organising training for the young people I was employing I could see there was a huge need for an organisation to help those from tough backgrounds.

“Some lack the work ethic, some lack communication skills so I decided to put a programme together to address that.

“We have worked with more than 200 young people since the start and are working on some exciting projects with local schools.

“I wanted the focus to be on education and getting them ready for work by developing their life and employability skills.

“We are hoping to create genuine career opportunities for young people who are currently not in education employment or training.”