Positive People Empowerment
Young people in Stoke-on-Trent are set to benefit from a brand new community hub which will provide life-skills and employment opportunities.
PPE Community (Positive People Empowerment) will be offering a multitude of workshops varying from creative and digital skills, to learning about trades, guidance on starting a new business as well as recruitment opportunities from the new PPE Community Hub base, which is located at Weston Road, Meir.
The organisation was initially established during the pandemic in 2020, to provide award winning support of PPE and food donations to local vulnerable people. Now, following a full rebrand by local experts Dumb Agency Ltd, the organisation has repositioned to provide a range of sustainable empowerment services for the local community.
The new project – which has recently received a two-year grant funding from the National Lottery Community fund – came about after local businessmen and entrepreneurs, Paul Smith, CEO of Innov8 Agency and Leeroy Chakanyuka, of Chax Barbers decided they wanted to do more in their local communities and help as many local young people as they can to improve their lives and achieve their own ambitions.
Partnerships with local businesses have already seen 10 people experience placements in areas including painting and decorating, logistics, marketing, business and volunteering via support from PPE.
Doors to the community hub officially opened to the public on Friday 30 June, with a launch day event attended by representatives of the local business community, plus MP Jack Brereton, the Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent Cllr Majid Khan and other local dignitaries including Cllr Desiree Elliott (Meir North Ward).
Paul Smith Director of PPE said: “We are delighted to be able to provide more and more opportunities to our local communities now we have our brand new base.
“This is a really exciting project and already we are seeing the benefits young people are getting from taking part in our workshops and opportunities with local businesses – who have been fantastic.
“We have received donations from several businesses which have included laptops and equipment. Keele University and local marketing agency Socially Grown have donated furniture for the Hub and we cannot thank everyone enough. Stoke-on-Trent City Council project Donate IT have also provided office equipment to the project.
“As we move forward now we are looking to partner with more local businesses who want to help those younger people who may not usually have access to this kind of training, support and opportunities.”
All young people and other beneficiaries who take part in programmes at the Weston Road hub will receive training and guidance on employment routes and entrepreneurship.
Manager of PPE Community Johnathan Smith added: “We truly believe our project is going to have life-changing benefits for a lot of young people and as we move forward we will also be looking to provide other opportunities to the wider community.
“Prior to opening the doors of our Hub in Meir, we have already helped to support 10 young people with various opportunities and we cannot wait to help others. We have a lot of exciting things coming in the next six months and events, which we will also be holding in the community and will soon be announcing.”
Stoke-on-Trent Lord Mayor Majid Khan said: “It’s important that we support organisations like this who are providing much needed services to up-skill and train for better employment futures. It is important that we have more of these organisations for our residents throughout the city and we support them in the best possible way we can.”
The PPE team is also complimented by staff member Althea Hawthorne as Co-ordinator and Keele University interns Dhanashree Gharat (Marketing Executive) and Mehek Shazad (Finance Assistant)
(Main image: (LtoR)Paul-Smith-Dhanashree-Gharat-Mehek-Shazad-Althea-Hawthorne-MP-Jack-Brereton-Johnathan-Smith. Other images include Cllr Desiree Elliott and Stoke-on-Trent Lord Mayor Majid Khan. and Thomas Pine-Coffin (The National Lottery Community Fund).