A group of young people are developing their entrepreneurial skills while also raising much-needed money to help a Stockton toddler.
The 16-19 year old NEETS (Not in Education, Training or Employment) are all taking part in an 'Event Academy' organised by Stockton Council's Tees Achieve Service.
19-month-old Finn Johns, from Hardwick, was born profoundly deaf and after months of fundraising his parents raised enough money for a rare brainstem implant operation in Italy to help him hear.
Now, young people taking part in the Event Academy are doing their bit by raising funds to support his on-going care.
The Event Academy sees young people develop skills in catering, sport and out door activities, art as well as enterprise and publicity. They gain first-hand experience by carrying out tasks associated with key Stockton Borough events, like the Stockton International Riverside Festival and Stockton Summer Show.
13 young people involved in the enterprise and publicity group have successfully secured a loan of £600 from Stockton Council so they can produce and sell coloured wrist bands to raise money for the Fight for Finn campaign.
16 year old, Jayson Homer, from Stockton is one of the young people involved, he said: "I have developed so many skills which I think will help me in future and I’ve really enjoyed it. Having the opportunity to present a business plan to the Council made the experience feel so real - I wish the Event Academy was held every day. It has also made it even more worthwhile by raising money for Finn."
Stockton Council's Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport, Mike Smith, said: "This year Stockton is seeing its biggest ever events programme and it is fantastic that these young people are benefitting from that by having the opportunity to develop practical and transferrable skills and gaining valuable experience by being involved in these top-class events.
"I hope it will help inspire them to consider further training and careers in the events field.
"It is also heartening to see how they are focussing their efforts on raising money for the Fight for Finn campaign and hope many people across Stockton Borough support them by buying their wristbands."
The young people are selling the wristbands at venues across Stockton Borough this summer including community events organised by Stockton's Integrated Youth Support Service, Stockton Summer Show at Preston Hall Museum and Grounds on 26 and 27 August, in Stockton Council buildings and on Stockton Market.