Roger Daltrey shows his support for young people at the Wealden Works Awards

10th December

Young people receive their certificates from Roger Daltrey Centre), Ambassador for Wealden Works, R.Frances Conway, Community Development, and C.Chris Hardy

Last Tuesday night December 4, over 150 people attended Wealden Works Annual Awards event, at a packed Heathfield Youth Centre, to celebrate local young people’s achievements.

The evening began with Councillor Rupert Simmons, Chairman of the Heathfield Partnership Trust welcoming guests, who included Chris Hardy, Chairman of the Wealden District Council, Ambassador – Roger Daltrey, Bert Weigman, The Master of the Worshipful Company of Wheelwrights, and the many businesses, support groups, colleges, and family and friends of the graduates who had all come to show their support.

Councillor Simmons explained how Wealden Works evolved just 18 months ago, expanding from Heathfield to the wider Wealden community and how successful it had become in such a short time: ” Wealden Works evolved out of an earlier scheme which had needed rescuing with emergency funding; but it has now become a very successful initiative. It helps support young people to gain qualifications or experience in education or training and supports them on a pathway to work. Help comes in many forms and includes practical things like CV writing, work experience and counselling for mental health issues. We are always indebted to all of the local businesses and services who work with us ”

To bring the project alive, a film produced by ex-Heathfield student Jared Moss Coombes, was shown, it gave great insight into how the young people had overcome personal issues and barriers to work in order to achieve their goals.

Project Manager Lisa Crozier and Programme Co-ordinator, Tora Bowdler introduced and interviewed some of the graduates. As well as all gaining accredited qualification, many had already moved into employment, apprenticeships, further education or voluntary work. Around 40 young people were helped this year.

Roger Daltrey, a great supporter of Wealden Works,  had spent some private time with the graduates before the event talking to them about their personal challenges, he went on to present certificates to each of them and expressed his admiration and continued support for the the young people and the project.

The young people spoke of their experiences on the scheme, for example Tom Carroll from Mayfield, talked of how proud he was to be the only Apprentice Wheelwright in the country under the combined Worshipful Company of Wheelwrights and Worshipful Company of Coachmakers, and how honoured he was that both Worshipful Companies had travelled from London to support him that evening.

Here are some further examples:

Oliver West from Hailsham, was commended by his employer Phil Straker who accepted the certificate on his behalf, and said what a brilliant job Ollie is doing as a Warehouse and Dispatch Coordinator at his company – the largest Saxophone supplier in the world.

Tilly Carson from Hertmonceux is working as a Pharmaceutical Assistant, training to be a Dispenser

Patrick.Duncan  from Blackboys spoke of his new job as a Trainee Insurance Broker in London, and said it was only because he did work experience within an office environment whilst at Wealden Works, that he was offered the job.

Freddie Clark, from Wadhurst  was really pleased that he has been offered a carpentry apprenticeship within his construction job.

Ethan Todd, from  Mayfield  said after being at University and still unsure of his future his focus now is teaching, and is attending a Teacher Training course.

Max Goodwin from Uckfield and Beth Jackson from Heathfield are both working as electrical apprentices.

Millie Palmer,  from Five Ashes has returned to Further Education to do A Levels

Great fundraising by ‘El Banda Burros’

Local Band ‘El Banda Burros’ who had chosen Wealden Works as their charity for 201, presented a cheque for an amazing £5000 which they had raised. The audience were then entertained with  a couple of songs and the band  announced that they would continue fundraising for the charity for 2019.

Recognition of volunteers

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (ESFRS) Heathfield were awarded recognition for their outstanding support, not only for organising regular team building events for the groups at the fire station, which boost self confidence, team work, and help develop life skills, but also their 1-1 mentoring with participants,,…. its a real community partnership.  Pup Upton the Interim Group Manager for Wealden accepted the award on behalf of the team, saying: ” The young people are an inspiration and the ESFRS are delighted to continue this successful partnership between the fire service and Wealden Works.”

Also included for thanks, were the voluntary professional counsellors Sally Sugg and Sue Marshall  who were awarded Appreciation Awards, for giving up their valuable time to offer the young people the opportunity of free counselling sessions, to address any personal issues they may have.

Taking pictures on the night and credited for the shots used in this article, was Sarah Tate Photography who received a Recognition Award for all the photography and help they have given Wealden Works over the years. Tony  Sims accepted the award (on behalf of Sarah Tate).

It was an evening of much pride and smiles and a determination to continue the project on into 2019.

We are aware of the following who have supported the project, but there are many more –Urban Jump, Pomfrets Butchers, Proxy Insight, Frogheath,ESFS, Worshipful Company of Wheelwrights and Worshipful Company of Coachmakers, Sarah Tate….