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5 May 2021

Levelling up champion KEY Project celebrates new national award

South Tyneside youth charity KEY Project has been named as a winner in the inaugral Levelling Up Goals Awards.

The Awards recognise organisations that play a leading role in levelling up the UK, those that are committed to boosting opportunity and being truly purpose-led.

KEY Project was named a winner in the Positive Destinations post 16+ category.

MPs, businesses and others throughout the UK nominated organisations for the 14 different award categories which are focused on equality of opportunity at key life stages.

The Awards were hosted at Darlington Hippodrome with cross-party backing from Chancellor Rishi Sunak MP, Robbie Moore MP, Dame Margaret Hodge MP, Guy Opperman MP and others. The Levelling Up Goals Awards are Co-Chaired by former Minister for Public Health Seema Kennedy OBE and Peter Gibson, MP for Darlington.

The categories are based around the Levelling Up Goals launched earlier this year by former Education Secretary Rt Hon Justine Greening. The Goals provide a benchmark for activity focused on driving equality of opportunity from early years through to careers, alongside barriers such as the digital divide, health and infrastructure.

Seema Kennedy OBE said: “A huge congratulations to our winners who have shown that they are playing a key role in helping their communities level up. Accelerated by the pandemic, we are seeing a massive shift in expectations of organisations within society and the 2021 Levelling Up Goals Awards celebrate those that are leading the way in being truly purpose-led.

Co-Chair of the Levelling Up Awards Peter Gibson said “Levelling up can be a reality for communities up and down the UK. These awards show the fantastic work already going on to level up our communities from digital skills to health. This is a crucial moment for our country and it is brilliant to celebrate some of the work underway in our communities to build back better.”

Former Education Secretary Rt Hon Justine Greening said: “The Levelling Up Goals are the UK’s first levelling up architecture and give a clear benchmark for organisations to measure their impact against. Levelling up is something that needs to be addressed throughout the UK and it’s great to see so many influential organisations and leaders at the forefront of the agenda.

“I’d like to congratulate all the winners of the first Levelling Up Goals Awards and thank them for their commitment to levelling up.”

South Shields MP, Emma Lewell Buck, who nominated KEY Project, tweeted “I am beyond proud and thrilled that my nomination for the Levelling Up Awards, Shields very own @ST_KEYProject have WON! So deserving, congratulations.”

Ross Allen, Executive Lead at KEY Project, said: “We believe that every young person deserves the chance to realise their full potential and go on to live a successful, independent life. We’re delighted to win this national award which recognises the dedication of our staff, volunteers and all our supporters who are true champions for the young people we empower.”

Jo Benham Brown, Business Development and Communities Manager at KEY Project, added: “This is a significant achievement, I’m immensely proud of my KEY colleagues and our wonderful volunteers and pleased that this accolade has been awarded for all their efforts. Whether keeping our young people safe at night, supporting families, looking after back-office activities, and anything in between, every single one of our team plays a vital role and contributes to the success of KEY.”

The Levelling Up Goals Awards are sponsored by the Harrison Centre for Social Mobility, which supports organisations across the UK that work with young people to achieve their potential.