INSPIRATIONAL parents have been honoured for their help in transforming the lives of families living in poverty in the region.
The 15 parents are part of Tyne Gateway, a new social enterprise which aims to continue the work of a national Child Poverty Unit pilot.
The programme has been recognised by The University of Sunderland in a foundation degree tailored for the community entrepreneurs (CEs).
Tyne Gateway trains, employs and supports parents from North and South Tyneside, who are in danger of falling into poverty, to become CEs.
They are then encouraged to create solutions to problems they and others like them face and share them.
Community entrepreneur Vanessa Binks, from North Tyneside, said: “No one in my family had ever been to university before.
“To be quite frank, I didn’t believe I could manage it.
“I had been in the care system and I have dyslexia so those things held me back.
“But I was determined to be a good role model to my boys and now, with hard work and determination, I have achieved the Foundation Degree with a commendation.
“It’s fantastic,” she added.
The CEs have worked on projects from helping parents of disabled children into work, to employing parents as collection agents for a low-interest doorstep loan service to providing fuel advice to families on low incomes to enable them to maximise their income.
The CEs were rewarded for their efforts after successfully completing their Foundation Degrees when they all graduated at the Stadium of Light.
Thanks to contact with the CEs, more than 200 parents in North and South Tyneside have now been moved into work or training.