Support group for the excluded from school settles in Stretford Mall

A support group for vulnerable youth has found a home in Trafford.

The social enterprise, N:GL, is based in Stretford Mall.

The company offers free alternative guidance and education services and will now offer them from a new cafe and meeting space in the mall, the proceeds of which will all go to fund N:GL’s services.

The space, known as The Sq, will provide a new community center for the city, as well as employment opportunities for young people using N:GL’s NGage program.

AN:GL was founded by David Schofield and Jaden Irving in 2020, who initially taught in Student Reference Units.

The duo decided to create their own community interest company after discovering that there was so little supply and opportunity for vulnerable young people as they were excluded from school.

The group intends to use practical actions and support to offer an alternative path for young people with few options and often involved in crime and gangs.

At Stretford Mall, David and his co-founder, Jaden, a martial arts professional, wanted to create a safe space for the young people participating in the program.

The space now includes a mixed-use martial arts academy, a music studio and a furniture restoration workshop, each offering their own opportunity to learn new life and employment skills.

N:GL works to provide a clear progression path for the youth who participate in its programs.

Sq took over the former Love Coffee space in the center of the mall and will serve hot and cold drinks, cakes and snacks from 10 am to 3 pm, Monday through Friday.

The location is set to be a local hub that can be used for community events, pop-ups and training, and will provide paid work experience to those using the N:GL program.

The site has been renovated and transformed with reclaimed wood paneling, greenery and is intended to be a home away from home for the residents of Stretford.

It will still be furnished with items made in N:GL’s upcycling studio with all items available to buy and take home.

David Schofield said, “At N:GL, we are committed to helping young people transform their own lives. We’ve seen some amazing results in the N:GL program because it’s based on very hands-on support and intervention. We have been working with young people for a long time and offer an experienced support network with clear progression and inspiring opportunities.

“We are excited about our new home on the Mall and are already building a fantastic setting – it will all complement the new cafe and provide a wonderful new space for the community as well.”

Cllr Cath Hynes, Deputy Chair of the Trafford Board and Executive Member for Children’s Services, said: “This looks like a fantastic initiative and I am delighted to be based in Stretford Mall. Trafford Council is fully committed to supporting young people in all aspects of their lives, so this is great news for us.”

James Tootle, head of retail for urban centers in Bruntwood, who co-owns the Mall with the council, added: “We are delighted to support an organization like N:GL. What David and his team are doing shows how we can support young people and invest in communities at the same time.”

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