Ministerial visit to Halifax’s Orangebox

MP Francis Maude, in Halifax for Working Wonders apprenticeship scheme, at the Orange Box youth activity centre
MP Francis Maude, in Halifax for Working Wonders apprenticeship scheme, at the Orange Box youth activity centre

A Calderdale charity which promotes opportunity for young people was praised for its organic inspiration by a Government minister during his visit to the contemporary Halifax centre.

Conservative MP Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, visited young people’s centre Orangebox, yesterday, and heard about the work of community groups effectively engaging NEET (Not in Employment Education Training) youngsters in society through apprenticeship programmes.

MP Francis Maude, in Halifax for Working Wonders apprenticeship scheme, at the Orange Box youth activity centre. Pictured with Lee Kenny, Steve Duncan, Emily Pearson and Martin Haigh

MP Francis Maude, in Halifax for Working Wonders apprenticeship scheme, at the Orange Box youth activity centre. Pictured with Lee Kenny, Steve Duncan, Emily Pearson and Martin Haigh

The Government official was informed of the growth of Working Wonders - which was created on the back of the massive success of Cycle for Work - the 2013/14 Community Foundation for Calderdale campaign which secured 27 local apprenticeships for young people.

Mr Maude said: “This initiative symbolises the Big Society - what’s great is that it came about organically; it happened because people came together and addressed the needs of their community.

“The Coalition is strongly in favour of apprenticeships and have created two million for young people - we want them to be the first option of the future.”

Working Wonders chair Steve Duncan, pictured inset, said: “The official visit and recognition of our work is a sign Working Wonders has grown-up as a charity. It fills me with pride that business and voluntary sectors are working together to help young people.”

Working Wonders is currently supporting 46 young people back into employment and education.

Working Wonders Trustees Martin Haigh of Lattitude 7 and Lee Kenny of Snowflake Media outlined private sector support and listened to poems from poet laureate and apprentice Joel Duncan.

The apprenticeship charity supports two Orangebox apprenticeship students, presently.

The conference was held in the centre’s Snack in the Box cafe. Orangebox director Emily Pearson, said: “The cafe is the heart of what’s taking place here - it’s a working social enterprise for young people.”