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Project information

The Derwentside/.Chicago Exchange

To take a group of 40 young people aged between 16-18 to Chicago to explore university and employment opportunities and to raise their level of aspiration and experience. We have hosted 2 groups from Chicago within the last 12 months and this is an opportunity to reciprocate.

October 2011 - September 2012

Charity information: Derwentside Youth Charitable Trust

Derwentside Youth Charitable Trust
  • Need


    These young people are drawn from low income families and we are trying to raise their level of aspiration and develop strong networks in Chicago to give these young people opportunities that they would otherwise not have. Many of the young people lack the confidence to explore new opportunities and the we believe the group dynamic will allow them to overcome this issue. More importantly its a project that excites the young people as its the project they have selected themselves


    We have developed links withe major employers and universities in thee Chicago area who are willing to devote time to speak to and mentor the young people on a continuous basis via social networking. Through thee 2 Chicago visits to Derwentside many of our young people have met their Chicago contacts and are very keen to pursue ongoing relationships. Our visit is planned to cover the July 4the celebration so these young people will be involved in the celebrations.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To raise the aspirations of the young people involved


    » Visit 4 universities in Chicago and stay on campus to experience the life of a student

    What success will look like

    Success will be. monitoring the young people to see how many of the 40 young people gain employement and/or university places withinn the next 24 months ..

    Aim 2

    To develop networks within the business and academic community of Chicago


    » To visit 3 large and medium size businesses who offer internships and are keen to participate in this exchange

    What success will look like

    Success will be more exchanges and interaction with the Chicago community...

    Aim 3

    To foster a culture of self help within the group that highlights positive goals such as teamwork


    » By undertaking a series of fundraising and team building events that will require the group to work together and engender a sense of achievement

    What success will look like

    Success will be.to raise the finance so that every young person nominated will..travel to Chicago irrespective of their family or financial background

  • Impact


    Links between Derwentside and Chicago schools and colleges via skype and other mediums will result in more young people entering the US university system. Businesses will also have the opportunity to link directly to Chicago and that will give a boost to economic performance in the Derwentside area which is currently in a depressed state. These can be demonstrated through reporting from schools and businesses.


    There is the Health and Safety aspect of managing 40 young people and a feasibility and risk assessment visit has already taken place to Chicago to address the H & S aspect.
    The financial risk of not raising enough funds to send young people from low income families will be addressed by robust fundraising (of which the Big Give forms a vital part)


    A dvd will be produced which will chronicle the trip and include pieces to camera of all the stakeholders and this could also feature the donors. The donors will have a copy of the dvd to memorialise the support and to use it to support other groups.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £32,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £32,000 Flights Return flights to chicago
  • Background


    Derwentside District in County Durham has some of thee most economically deprived wards in thee UK. In contrast Chicago (if a country) would be thee 15the richest in thee world. The disparity between thee 2 locations could not be greater and theis is an important factor in thee Derwentside young people experiencing "what can be imagined, can be achieved".


    The population of Derwentside is 90,000 and we believe a vigorous exchange with Chicago will benefit a huge majority of this population through major stakeholders such as schools, community group and employers. It will be an important ingredient in raising the confidence in an area suffering very badly in the current economic depression

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We successfully led a similar project in 2010 and we have brought together many important stakeholders who have the confidence that we can deliver this project based on our previous successful track record.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    John O'Connor

    Chairman and project manager