Minister backs project to help young people into work

evolve-minister-visit-2Rob Wilson, the Minister for Civil Society, visited the launch of an innovative, new community project in Birmingham today (4 Oct) aimed at improving the life chances of vulnerable young people.

EVOLVE is a social enterprise being set up by local substance use support charity Aquarius, one of the Recovery Focus partners. The plan is to transform the famous, old Adam and Eve pub in Digbeth into a community hub to create positive opportunities for local young people affected by drugs, alcohol, mental health and/or homelessness issues.

After meeting with members of the project team during his visit today, Minister for Civil Society Rob Wilson MP said: “This is a big step for Aquarius and it’s a brave step. But it’s the beginning of a new life and new opportunities for the young people who’ll be supported by this exciting venture. I’m really heartened to hear how Aquarius is exploring new markets and new opportunities, and that they’ve the vision to realise their ambition.”

The new scheme will include a café that will provide apprenticeship opportunities for young people as a positive step into employment. There will also be multi-purpose rooms for hire and a range of services and support groups. Any profits made will be reinvested directly into supporting vulnerable, local young people.

Aquarius chief executive Annette Fleming said: “This is a really exciting project for the area. We know from experience that young people have a better chance of making sustainable changes to their lives through supported employment schemes like this. And it brings benefit to the community too by giving a new lease of life to the once much-loved Adam and Eve pub.”

evolve-minister-visit-4There has been a pub on the Bradford Street site for more than 200 years and the current building suffered severe bomb damage during the Second World War. In its heyday it was a well renowned music venue for up and coming bands and hosted gigs by the likes of Steve Gibbons and The Twang.

The upstairs of the pub has been converted into flats and is being run as a social housing scheme by Spring Housing. Meanwhile, downstairs will become the home of EVOLVE and will be made up of multi-use rooms for hire and the community café.

Building work is underway to transform the space and EVOLVE is set to open to the public in January 2017.

To help the project get off the ground, Aquarius has launched a crowdsourcing fund. To pledge support visit: crowdfunder.co.uk/evolvebrum