Futureworks NY

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Futureworks NY is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.


Highlighting best practice
Highlighting best practice
Company Directors Sarah Thornton
and Michelle Padron-Kitching
Hands-on experience builds
skills and confidence for our
young people
Futureworks NY provides support and guidance for people
of all ages as well as volunteering opportunities within the
local community. Director Michelle Padron-Kitching tells
The Parliamentary Review
that Futureworks is more than just a
training provider – from its Scarborough base, the organisation
provides an array of “vital” services to support young people
in the community. Michelle discusses the challenges the
organisation faces and how she and her team seek to engage
young people.
We are more than just a training provider: we provide support, guidance and of
course training to young people who have found that mainstream education does
not work for them. Based in the heart of Scarborough, we have been working
in our local area for eight years, serving a wide range of clients including, more
recently, economically inactive adults. Born from sheer frustration at the lack of
help given to young people with little choice, we sought advice on how to start our
own social enterprise and we have not looked back since.
Since 2012, we have worked with approximately 600 young people, engaging
them in a wide variety of activities including academic skills, such as functional
skill maths and English among other qualifications, sessions in confidence building
and also general life skills. Our young people are often those whom others see
as lacking in motivation with little hope of contributing to society. We see them
as an opportunity to engage, enlighten and develop into contributing members
»Company Directors:
MichellePadron-Kitching and
Sarah Thornton
»Established in 2012
»Based in Scarborough
»Services: Training, support and
guidance for young people
»No. of employees: 8
Futureworks NY
Support is at the heart of everything
we do and we understand that giving
someone a handful of qualifications
without a foundation of stability will
not enable them to fully utilise their
potential. We create an environment
of mutual trust and respect with our
clients, treating them as equals. We
avoid being perceived as authority
figures and we find that having a sense
of humour with our young people
really helps to break down barriers.
Putting these aspects into a plan with
our young people enables them to
see their own potential and acts as a
lightbulb moment for them to realise
their own possibilities.
Exciting times
A big highlight in our journey was
the successful attainment of a Big
Lottery Fund, which supported our
community works project for five
years. This unique project takes young
people aged between 18 and 25 and
helps them increase their confidence
and skills through practical workshop
activities. We are extremely proud of
this project and it has created new
directions for us, including property
development. This was a big move for
us and we had assistance from the
Business Enterprise Fund, who believed
in our ability, drive and passion for
what we do and provided the finance
for this project.
Engaging our young people in
everything we do is key to our
operation, and our first property
was no different. Learners of all
ages and abilities were involved in
a variety of activities, which ranged
from removing plaster to helping
with painting and decorating, all
contributing to creating a property
ready for sale. Although incredibly
challenging and very tiring, we
absolutely loved this project, as did
our learners. They learnt new skills
in a real working environment and
were able to see the fruits of their
labour. These types of projects
are what we are all about: they
increase confidence and skills in a
way that is valuable and which our
young people can take with them
beyond their time with us. We are
now looking at our next property
to further improve and widen the
skills of more young people and
to boost our sustainability as an
Changing times
These past eight years have seen
highs and lows, both with clients
and in terms of our efforts to ensure
the organisation maintains funding
and contracts so we can continue
our work. Needs have changed over
the years and we have seen trends
come and go.
Not all learning takes
place in a classroom
Engaging our
young people
in everything
we do is key
to our
Highlighting best practice
Highlighting best practice
Currently, we are facing an epidemic
of young people with mental health
problems, ranging from low self-
esteem to severe self-harming. We are
also facing a high number of young
people classed as home educated,
with little or no education occurring.
This has impacted upon our services
and we have had to develop and
diversify what we do. Our support
service was specifically developed for
young people aged 16 to 18 who are
not ready for any kind of structured
training. They work with a designated
mentor to build their confidence
and skills so that they can move on
to further training or employment.
Over 80 per cent of our young people
who have attended this project have
reported an increase in confidence
and have progressed to a successful
pathway suited to them.
Funding is always a key concern as a
social enterprise, and this also comes
with its challenges. Over the years,
we have seen government contracts
come and go and this is a current
challenge as there is no funding
available for 16 to 18-year old NEETs,
who comprise the bulk of the young
people we work with. This creates
a gap in provision for those young
people in need of our services and for
whom we cannot always provide for
because of funding. This is frustrating
for us as we want to pursue the good
work we do within our community
and for the young people who need
help. However, we are resilient
and we continue to examine our
organisation and the ways in which
we can attract funding that will assist
our localcommunity.
Although we face a never-ending cycle
of changes, from government funding
to ever more complex needs from our
client groups, we are optimistic for
our future and know that we have the
drive and passion to deliver excellent
services to our clients.
Over 80 per
cent of our
young people
who have
attended this
project have
reported an
increase in
and have
progressed to
a successful
pathway suited
to them
Developing key skills


This article was sponsored by Futureworks NY. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.