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Sunderland fund helps teenager’s career dream come true

Lewis Hodgson with his former head of year teacher Colin Kinvig.
Lewis Hodgson with his former head of year teacher Colin Kinvig.

A Sunderland teenager’s career dream has moved a step closer with help from a city fund.

Lewis Hodgson, 17, dreamed with opening his own business in tree surgery but travelling costs were making it impossible.

Lewis Hodgson with his former head of year teacher Colin Kinvig.

Lewis Hodgson with his former head of year teacher Colin Kinvig.

The weekly expenses for the four-hour trip from Pennywell to East Durham College in Durham City were a financial burden on Lewis and his mother: “Spending all my money on bus fares meant I had nothing to spend on food during the day.”

The burden was pushing Lewis into quitting his dream course and looking at other career options, until one of his former teachers stepped in.

Academy 360’s Colin Kinvig heard about the teenager’s financial problems and contacted the Sunderland Boys Fund to grant a fund for Lewis’s daily trip to his course at the college’s Houghall campus: “I put a bid in for Lewis to the Sunderland Boys Fund to help him and his mam out to cover his bus fares every month,” he said.

The Sunderland Boys Fund was established to provide financial help to young people under 25 to support them into work, such as contributions towards travel costs and clothing for job interviews.

The trustees were delighted to support Lewis.

Ian Thompson

Sunderland Boys Fund approved the application and granted a fund of a monthly £60 for Lewis’s travel expenses.

Ian Thompson, chairman of the Sunderland Boys Fund, said: “The trustees were delighted to support Lewis. His determination, through personal challenges, to achieve his dream of employment is commendable and indicated to the trustees that his application was a very worthwhile one.

“He has shown great potential and the trustees would like to wish him every success on this course and in his future endeavours.”

With the fund’s support Lewis can continue to attend his classes: “Mr Kinvig told me about the fund which has taken the pressure off for me to get to college every day,” he said.

Lewis has his sights set on a career as a tree surgeon in Australia or Canada because ‘that’s where your money is made’.

Colin is also pursuing a possible one day a fortnight placement for Lewis with local landscaping firm Ian Howe Landscaping Limited to further boost his knowledge and employability.