Work and Pensions secretary visits Canning Town youth project

Jacqui Christopher, from Community Links, with Iain Duncan Smith MP, Lyn Brown MP, three participant

Jacqui Christopher, from Community Links, with Iain Duncan Smith MP, Lyn Brown MP, three participants on the Sultaan Ulyjan, Dwayne Lewin, and Seun Lazeez with Gary Bailey from Community Links. - Credit: Archant

Work and Pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith visited Community Links on Wednesday to see their youth project in action.

The MP for Chingford and Woodford Green dropped by the charity on Barking Road, Canning Town, with West Ham MP Lyn Brown to talk to young people on their Links 4 Life project.

The scheme, developed in partnership with financial backers Bridges Ventures and Stratford Development Partnership, aims to help young people cope with the transition from school to colleges and into work.

Mr Smith made the trip east as Links 4 Life is supported by the Department for Work and Pensions’ £30m Innovation Fund which finances projects on the basis it will pay back investors on evidence of results.

Community Links staff Jacqui Christopher and Gary Bailey spoke to Mr Smith about the project before he met young participants Sultaan Ulyjan, Dwayne Lewin, and Seun Lazeez.

Mr Smith said: “It was a real pleasure to visit Community Links and learn about the success of this highly innovative project.

“With the support of savvy investors and Government paying for the results achieved, Community Links are making a real difference - turning young people’s lives around and setting them on the path to independence.”

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After meeting the young people, Ms Brown said: “While this funding model is new, it will allow Community Links to continue providing their exceptional support services to the people of Newham through these difficult times and ensure local young people achieve appropriate qualifications, get a job, and reach their goals.”