Youth team is playing a crucial role in £300m Leeds Kirkstall Forge development

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Young people who are trying to get their lives back on track are to form a key part of the team bringing the £300m Kirkstall Forge development vision to life.

Developer CEG has teamed up with the Leeds branch of social enterprise The Skill Mill to offer work and training opportunities for youngsters coming through the Youth Offending Service.

The youth team will be involved from the very beginning of the Kirkstall Forge project, working on tasks such as painting, clearing waterways, managing vegetation and materials management and learning other valuable skills that will prepare them for further employment.

The group has already helped out with the post-flood clean up in early January, when CEG mobilised its workforce to assist the community.

Jon Kenny, director of CEG, said: “Supporting the local community is important to us and we’re pleased to be able to play a small part in helping young people in the area get back on their feet.

“Kirkstall Forge is a really significant project in the area and the lads on site should feel proud of the role they’ve played in getting construction off the ground.”

Lucinda Yeadon, Labour councillor for Kirkstall and the council’s lead member for children’s services, said: “The Skill Mill is doing wonderful work in the community and I am thrilled to see the team contributing to the future of Leeds through its involvement in the Kirkstall Forge project.”

Andy Peaden, head of service at Leeds Youth Offending Service, added: “Gaining skills and engagement in education, training and employment is crucial in reducing reoffending by young people and enabling them to move on and live more productive lives.

“The Skill Mill provides a chance for our young people take their first steps in employment, to gain invaluable experience, and in this partnership with CEG they are being provided with a fantastic opportunity to do this whilst at the same time improving the local environment and contributing towards the development of a key local initiative.”

Kirkstall Forge is one of the largest regeneration schemes in the north of England.

A £300m total investment in the site over the next five years will create more than 2,400 new jobs and enable almost 10,000 people to live and work on this site by 2020.

Work has already begun on a 15,534 sq m, seven storey office building that will form part of an office park.