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Make mine a double! Innovative eco project wins two national awards

11th December 2014

A social enterprise project aimed at transforming former young offenders into environmental guardians has won two national awards in 24 hours.

The Skill Mill Ltd, which is supported by Northumbria’s staff and students in partnership with Newcastle Youth Offending Team, picked up The Children and Young People Now Award for Youth Justice and the John Hawkins Award at the annual Youth Justice Convention.

The innovative initiative sees former young offenders trained to protect the environment and give back to their communities by carrying out water and land management projects such as stream clearing, which helps to reduce flood risks.

Dr Peter Glaves, Enterprise Fellow and academic lead for the Skill Mill at Northumbria, said: “To win one national award is impressive; to win two says a great deal about the innovative approach developed by the Skill Mill. The project helps former young offenders reconnect and give back to the community and help improve the flood protections and wider environment of the region.

“I am proud that Northumbria has been able to support this successful social-enterprise that has had a real impact on lives in the region.”

Davie Parks, Team Manager at Newcastle YOT, said: “Winning the John Hawkins Award was fantastic, knowing that the award is judged by our peers and young people. Being announced as the CYPN Youth Justice Award winners within the next 24 hours was unbelievable. It is a testament to the hard work and commitment of everyone involved in the project, and we want to thank all our partners with the vision and courage to make this happen.”

The Skill Mill creates jobs by employing former young offenders and benefits local communities both socially and environmentally by undertaking water and land-based management. When young employees complete their training, they are considered for further employment opportunities with partner organisations.

As well as Northumbria, the project’s partners include the Environment Agency, Newcastle City Council, Northumbrian Water, The Esh Group, Tyne Rivers Trust, Northumberland Wildlife Trust and East Durham College.

Northumbria offers a range of courses connected to the environment. For more information visit or come along to our next Open Day on 11 February 2015.

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