Accolades and Key Partners

Leading Link strives to move away from disconnected approaches led by individual institutions to a strategy uniting partners in the interest of young people. We also get beyond small-scale piecemeal activity and develop meaningful strategies to improve outcomes which bring young people, employers and communities together with projects which reach beyond the school gates. This has led to a number of accolades and milestone projects since the charity was established:

Accolades

Leading Link were awarded Social Enterprise of the Year at the 2013 Northumberland Business Awards, for our work with young people in the local community.

Leading Link have been awarded 'Established' status in Quality in Study Support - a visual quality mark as part of our work as Northumberland Children's University™

Leading Link, under the banner of Extended Services, were awarded The Sinnott Fellowship award (one of only 30 in the country) for 'Outward Facing Schools' in 2010.

Landmark Projects

Olympic Torch Parade - More than 7000 people braved the British weather and came together on Front Street in Bedlington to witness the passage of the Olympic Torch through the town and to enjoy a parade organised by Leading Link, The Bedlingtonshire Development Trust, Salvation Army and Station Entertainments.

The highlight of the performance was a giant Bedlington Terrier dog, in the style of a Chinese dragon, which was created by local artist Tony Murray, working with Youth Ambassadors™ from the Bedlington-based charity.

Leading Link and the parade were covered as part of a feature on Northumberland on a BBC One special about the Olympic Torch in the North East - you can view it here.

Transformation of Attlee Park - Leading Link, working in partnership with Northumberland County Council, were responsible for the transformation of the bandstand at Attlee Park in Bedlington into a performing arts venue, thanks to a £60,000 funding award from SITA Trust’s Enhancing Communities fund. 

Young people were involved in designing and producing a Bedlington mural on the back of the bandstand, which depicts the incredible history of the town, as well as helping with the design of the stage extension, planting trees in the park and the creation of a rockery at the new entrance, thanks to funding that a group of students were awarded from The Key. 

The new look bandstand, which once hosted speeches from leading political and trade union figures including Michael Foot and Arthur Scargill, was opened by Ian Lavery MP on Saturday 21st June 2014, as part of The Big Event 3.

Light Up Bedlington Week - Leading Link organised Light up Bedlington week in November 2014, with the aim to showcase the town and everything that it has to offer. Local people were invited to access over 50 different opportunities throughout the seven days. At the centre of  the week was two pop-up shops, which featured enterprise markets, craft workshops, local school showcases, guidance and support from local organisations.

Local community station Radio Northumberland broadcast live from a temporary studio throughout the week and there was a number of entertainment evenings planned, including an interactive performance from the Blyth Samba Band, Youth Ambassadors from Leading Link running a number of after-school festive fun workshops for children and a local talent evening organised by young people from the National Citizen Service (NCS).

Key Partners

bait - Leading Link has a strong and growing partnership with bait - part of the Creative People & Places programme. We have worked together on a number of different partnership projects including involvement in the creation of an installation for the well established and popular Enchanted Parks at Saltwell Park in Gateshead and drama and art involvement in The Search for Fire at Woodhorn. New opportunities continue to surface regularly for our young people to get involved in big arts projects with the organisation.

The Sill Project - Leading Link have been working closely with Northumberland National Park Authority on opportunities for young people involving The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre. The Sill will be the country's first national landscape discovery centre. The Sill will give more people than ever before the chance to experience the countryside's special and often hidden treasures. Offers young volunteering and graduate progression opportunities.

The Key - Leading Link are longstanding Facilitators of The Key programme, offering young people opportunitie and development of key skills through access to funding. We have also been involved in partnership work on Mr Benn project in Northumberland – designed at encouraging business and enterprise opportunities. Access other projects for young people to get involved with including iDEA Award, Kerching, Skills2Succeed, #idecide, Digital badges and Talent Match NE.

Northumberland County Council - We have established key relationships with Northumberland County Council, including with local County Councillors and other departments, which continue to lead to regular opportunities for our young people to get involved with, including partnership work, youth participation opportunities, work with Youth Cabinet and Parliament and involvement in big local events including Northumberland Live! at Blyth Beach.

Town Councils - Worked with West Bedlington Town Council on partnership projects including the Christmas lights switch-on in the town and our unique ‘Light up Bedlington’ week, and East Bedlington Parish Council and Choppington Parish Council on expanding the Children's University across ther area. We are currently working together to develop local forums to develop a strategy to ensure that youth voice is heard in towns across county.

Other key partners include:
- Bedlingtonshire Development Trust
- Children’s University™
- Highlights PR
- “Johnnie” Johnson Housing Trust
- Local colleges and universities – Newcastle, Northumberland and Sunderland Universities; Newcastle and Northumberland College
- Targeted Adolescent Services
- Wansbeck CVS

We are always looking for new and exciting projects and opportunities for our young people to get involved with, in order to help increase our impact and enhance the 'real' experience for those participants - if you have something to bring to the table then please get in touch today and let's start working together!

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