When there’s a young person at risk of being NEET, here’s how to make a real difference


Christmas time is upon us. It’s a time for giving, but true generosity blossoms when it is to those less fortunate. Estate Agent Cooke, Curtis & Co is celebrating a recent award win from The Best Estate Agent Guide for Best Estate Agent Overall Winner Sales, and we are celebrating too!


Thanks to the generosity of Jamie Curtis and his team, their fantastic sales figures have been translating into something wonderful for our charity. For every sale they make, this conscientious estate agent donates £100 and this certainly adds up. We’ve received three generous payments so far and the money is making a big difference. The cash is in effect being used to pay the starter salary of one of our training success stories, NMF Construction Supervisor, Morgan Young (aged 18).


In case you’re new to our blog, and not yet familiar with our work, I think it’s worth taking a step back here to explain what we do. As a charity our primary focus is on helping people who have somehow become dislodged. We work with young people who are at risk of being NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training) but we also work with people of any age who are former offenders or are experiencing hardships like homelessness. We provide training, work experience and employment and we also do construction work, building micro homes called ‘SPACE homes’ (if you’re local you may have seen these in the Barnwell area of Cambridge). We’ve just begun to also branch out into some commercial fundraising enterprises, making luxury live edge furniture and Mojo Space Garden Studios, which the people we help work on constructing. One member of this crew is Morgan and his story is fairly typical when it comes to the kind of young people we work with. I sat down to have a chat with Morgan to get his story in his own words.

“I didn’t feel comfortable going to school anymore. I don’t really know the full reason why I didn’t want to go there. But I stopped going. And then I’ve went to another school about a year later but I never really got on well there either. I got in a lot of fights and stuff like that and I felt like I couldn’t really do my work. I didn’t really want to go there. So I basically dropped out of school and then from then I was just getting in trouble with the police and hanging around with the wrong people for about a year or two, up until I was about 15 years old.

Then, it was more or less, either it’s going to prison or to change my life. Actually think I realised I need to do this. I need to work, I need to do all that because if not I’m not going to get anywhere. So from when I was 15 I quit those friendship groups. I was put on a traineeship course by CRC and they had helped me get the work experience with New Meaning. I was at New Meaning for about 3 months, Monday to Friday but sometimes I was up for even weekends too. Unfortunately the project we were working on came to an end. All the building stopped so I managed to get a job as a labourer doing light labouring work for another company. I did it for around a month. And then as soon as that ended, it was the first day, I think it was on the 22nd of March, when the lockdown happened because of the Coronavirus. So when I finally got invited to come back here by John I was really happy. Being here constantly, I know that that’s what I want.”

I asked, “tell me how it felt when you were doing your work experience. How did you feel when CRC set you up? Were you were you excited, daunted, grateful? What were your feelings? Honestly”

Morgan continues: “They told me I’m gonna have to do work experience, but I didn’t really want to do it. I didn’t know where I was going or what I was going to be doing. I just thought I was going to be doing basic construction work on a construction site. They sent me here on the first day and I got on very, very well and was very happy to be here and that’s why I wanted to stay. I think it’s only because it was working with John and Peter, that I really did want to be here and see myself actually working here.”

I asked: “When you were at school, were you thinking I don’t understand this or were you thinking I don’t want to do this?”

Morgan replied: “It was I don’t want to do this, I don’t have the drive to do it anymore. I don’t see any point in any of this stuff.”

Morgan was very much in agreement when I commented: “So you know what it feels like? Because you’ve been in that place where, it’s not really laziness, it’s just the lack of motivation.”

I continued: “Ok so what would you say to somebody who has lost their way, somebody in your position? They’re at school or at sixth form and they’re about to drop out or they’ve dropped out and they’re doing nothing. What message would you give them about how to get things back on track?”

Morgan replied “I would say, well one, if stuff is that bad talk to the person most close to you to help you with this motivation, the thing that is making it go wrong for you to not go to school. And two, to almost see the greater good stuff in the greater future and to not just think of today as today.  Today is going to end and there’s going to be tomorrow and that is going to end. One day you’re going to be 50 or 60 years old and you might not be in a place you want and now is the time where you can make that decision. To be in the place you want.”

I commented: “That’s beautiful. Well said. I think that the way the brain develops makes it very hard for young people to see into the future. Not you, because you clearly have had a lightbulb moment where you’ve been able to see. Thanks for sharing.  I think it’s really helpful for people to know what it’s like from your perspective. Is there anything else you want to add?”

Morgan replied: “Just to tell the people how much New Meaning Foundation does to help you. For what they’re doing, the way they are employing all these different people, they are giving them a chance to sort their life out and it’s working.

Commenting after the interview with Morgan, John Evans, New Meaning Foundation CEO said, “Morgan is a fantastic addition to our team. He has now picked up many of the skills he will need to become a skilled Construction worker and he’s an increasingly valued team member. He’s even begun to mentor and support the learning of our youngest learners. He works hard and I’m really pleased he has ambitions to run his own business. We’re so very grateful to Cooke Curtis & Co for helping us to keep him onboard and we’re confident he’s got a bright and long future working with us.”


You may like to read the Cooke Curtis & Co Facebook post back in September about how they came to choose to support us. Cooke Curtis & Co