(Lyla Pennill and her teacher Mrs Matusiak. Our chief exec Robin Lawler, left, handed out awards on the day)
The ‘Urban Crew’ project has brought children together from 13 different primary schools to learn new skills.
The program, which Northwards set up with the Manchester Communication Academy, gives pupils some fascinating opportunities. For example, over the last year, members got to produce their own radio show for North Manchester FM. During an ‘Enterprise Day’, they also learnt how to run their own business, competing against each other to market and sell different products.
Urban Crew members also visit Northwards retirement schemes to get to know the older generation. While there, they often plant hanging baskets for the tenants, serve tea and coffee and even sing carols when it’s Christmas time.
Making an impact
The children were recently honoured at a special awards ceremony where Lyla Pennill from Irk Valley Community School was named Urban Crew 'Champion of Champions', winning her school £250.
Her teacher Mrs Matusiak said: “At the beginning of the year, Lyla was quite shy and quiet.
“But very recently we had our assembly. Some children said that they wanted it to be over because they were so nervous. Lyla said: ‘Don’t worry about it. We will be fine. I was like that at the beginning but we are doing it together. All we can do is try our best.’ This made the other children in the group feel much better.
“This shows that Urban Crew had an impact not just on her but she’s also passing on her enthusiasm and support to others.”
At the end of the year, each crew member receives an ASDAN Key Steps award – the equivalent of a unit of a GCSE.
This year, children took part in the Urban Crew scheme from the following primary schools: Abbott, All Saints, Briscoe Lane, Charlestown, Christ the King, Holy Trinity, Irk Valley, Oasis Academy Harpur Mount, Seymour Road, St Augustine's, St Malachy’s, St Mary’s and Temple.