Remembering 40 years of Springboard Sunderland

The Queen meets people from Springboard.
The Queen meets people from Springboard.
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A ground-breaking Wearside training organisation is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Springboard Sunderland Trust was launched in 1975, as a joint initiative between Sunderland Social Services and national training provider Community Service Volunteers.

Sprinboard learners in the 1990s.

Sprinboard learners in the 1990s.

Today, four decades later, more than 35,000 young people have undergone training and apprenticeships with Springboard – with many progressing to employment or full-time education.

“We are so proud of what we have achieved, and how we have built an organisation which has helped many thousands of people have a brighter future,” said Trust secretary Denise Wilson.

“It is amazing how many people I meet on a weekly basis who have previously undertaken training here, which really underlines how important the organisation is to the local community.”

Springboard was launched after a 1975 report revealed 54 per cent of Wearside youngsters were unemployed, while 48 per cent had no academic or occupational qualifications.

“Our emphasis is not just to develop the vocational skills of people, but to help develop them as people. We are so proud of what we have achieved, and how we have built an organisation which has helped many thousands have a brighter future.”

Denise Wilson, secretary of Springboard Sunderland Trust.

Then, as now, the organisation offered personalised training programmes – with the focus on childcare and elderly-related occupations, as well as technical skills and community development.

“Our emphasis at Springboard is not just to develop the vocational skills of young people, but to help develop them as people,” said Denise.

“This is why we are increasingly focusing on a combination of adult and child learning, which is crucial in building resilience in families and creates a sense of well-being and better social interactions. This holistic approach is something our learners have responded really enthusiastically to and we’re very proud of.”

l As part of its 40th anniversary celebrations, Springboard is urging former learners to get in touch via Facebook or Twitter at @SpringboardNE to share their memories.

Springboard Sunderland 'Learner Awards.

Springboard Sunderland 'Learner Awards.

Trust secretary Denise Wilson, centre, hands out Springboard Sunderland awards.

Trust secretary Denise Wilson, centre, hands out Springboard Sunderland awards.