Meeting to debate future of threatened Sheffield charity

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TRUSTEES of a Sheffield charity which has been helping deprived youngsters for a quarter-century are due to announce today whether it can continue – after a 75 per cent fall in income.

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

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

The organisation also engages young people in media production.

But in July, its Sheffield Council contract providing media and music training for 16- to 18-year-olds not in education, employment or training, comes to an end as the authority scales back grant funding.

Over the next year, KMP has just £10,000 of Children In Need money plus around £12,500 in payments for work with 14- to 16-year-olds providing literacy and numeracy training remaining.

During the last year, the 14-16s have achieved 58 certificates in literacy and numeracy.

KMP used to receive more than £100,000 of grant funding a year.

Manager Heather Ricks, among two of KMP’s four staff who face imminent redundancy, said: “A meeting was held last night to decide whether to continue in a scaled-down form if the project can find a new location with a peppercorn rent.

“The decision is being announced today.”

Youngsters told how KMP has helped them get their lives on track.

Kane Ellis, aged 16, from Southey, was referred by teachers at Chaucer School.

He said: “Teachers could not read my handwriting. I have been coming down for two years and I have now sorted my writing.

“I’ve been taking my GCSEs and think they’ve gone all right – thanks to the help received. I now want to go to college to study childcare.”

Kyle Hunt, aged 21, of Totley, was referred to KMP by youth services more than three years ago and has returned as a volunteer.

He said: “I completed courses which meant I could go to college and I have just got a job in music production.

“I came back to KMP as a volunteer because I wanted to help them now. I was really upset to hear it could close because it has helped me so much.”

Ms Ricks said that KMP had been grateful for the council’s past support and said that the charity was one of only two voluntary programmes in Sheffield to receive the top mark for being the most well run.

The council has praised KMP as a ‘professional, competent organisation who provide a high level of support’.