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Charity begins at home for Wombourne youngsters

A team of young people from Wombourne proved hard work really does pay off, after being commended at a national awards ceremony, for their passion and enthusiasm in creating a better neighbourhood.

The children aged 14-18 are part of an initiative developed in partnership with South Staffordshire Housing Association (SSHA),Community and Learning Partnerships at Staffordshire County Council, Staffordshire Youth Service and KOSSMIC (Kids of South Staffordshire Making it Count). Together the alliance is known as KAT (KOSSMIC Action Team). 

Over the past year the team has been involved in a number of schemes to improve their local neighbourhood. However, it was KAT’s work in developing a consultation proposal for a new play area on the Giggetty Estate in Wombourne, which encouraged an award submission into the Extended School Awards. 

KAT beat off stiff competition to be shortlisted for an award in which there were 500 entries. Those involved were overjoyed with being shortlisted and for receiving a personal congratulations for their efforts from the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Ed Balls.

Commenting, Becky Raven-Smith neighbourhood involvement officer at SSHA and member of KAT, said: “These youngsters really do go the extra mile to make Wombourne the best neighbourhood possible. They’re innovative in their approach and are not afraid of hard work, which is so refreshing.  

“I was proud to stand by their sides at the Extended Schools Awards final in London and I look forward to working closely with them on many new community initiatives this year.”

16-year-old KAT member Chris Smith said: “We were really pleased to find out that we had been shortlisted for an award and especially when we found out we could go to London and attend the awards ceremony. This proves that hard work really does pay off and has given us the enthusiasm to do even more next year.”

In addition to the consultation activity on the new play area, KAT has delivered two voluntary projects in Wombourne. One involved working with the residents of Brunel Court where the team tidied the gardens, while the other saw the painting of Wom Brook fences. 

Imre Tolgyesi from Wombourne Community and Learning Partnership, said: “Being shortlisted is fantastic news for the agencies and young people working on the KAT project in Wombourne. Everyone has worked really hard to create new positive Extended Service activities throughout the community; being shortlisted shows that we are delivering in partnership, top quality services worthy of national recognition.”  

SSHA is part of the West Midlands-based housing group Housing Plus. SSHA manages over 5000 homes in South Staffordshire, including Wombourne and each year invests in excess of £5million on a programme of works such as KAT, to enhance tenants’ homes and the local community.

KOSSMIC youngsters with SSHA's Becky Raven-Smith and Secretary of State for Chil