Giving young people the best possible start in life can be a difficult challenge but a new Swadlincote charity initiative is helping youngsters, often from difficult backgrounds, fulfil their potential.
Valley CIDS (Christians Involved in Developing Society), has opened a charity shop called Lighthouse in Swadlincote, committed to raising the aspirations and releasing the potential of young people throughout Derbyshire.
News reporter Jenny Moody visited the new charity store to find out more.
Being a teenager can be a difficult time for anybody, deciding where you want to go in life while battling conflicting emotions and confusing changes.
For those who have not had the easiest start in life, knowing where to turn can be difficult - but the Blend Youth Project, which represents the youth division of Valley CIDS, is there to help.
It provides activities, alternative education opportunities and support services for young people designed to promote their well-being and enhance key life and social skills for children in Derbyshire as well as Nottinghamshire.
The team also works with more than 70 schools by holding assemblies and lunch clubs. They work in colleges and arrange for some of the young people to work in charity shops to gain vital work experience.
The charity focuses on former mining communities often suffering from a lack of resources and underprivilege issues.
The Lighthouse charity shop, in High Street, Swadlincote, not only raises money for worthwhile causes, it has also helped out volunteers looking for new roles.
The store has taken on eight volunteers, as well as shop manager Jacqui Hughes, who were left devastated when the British Heart Foundation closed permanently in Swadlincote in early November 2017.
Mrs Hughes said: "We were a fantastic team and it is that family environment that you create. It was really upsetting for everyone but we have got a new challenge now and we are looking forward to it.
"We were all very devastated when it closed as a lot of the volunteers had been there a long time. Quite a few did not know what to do, it was awful. One of the reasons that I came to work here was because I could bring them with me.
"Some of the team have learning difficulties and issues with change so when they were told the shop was closing it was really quite devastating, as it was their job. They look at it as employment.
"I did not just want to go into any charity as I am picky and I really love the fact the CIDS helps kids and youths. A lot of charities are well-funded and well-known but this is that bit smaller and new.
"I sat on some sofa when I was 15 years old and needed support and if it wasn't for them I don't know what would have happened to me. It was somewhere to feel safe and that is what this charity provides - it is so important."
Lesley Kennedy, the retail area manager, said: "It is pleasing as we need good members of the team and good, keen volunteers who know the role. This is about putting the two teams together from Lighthouse and the British Heart Foundation.
"It was really nice to join with them as a group and become a new team. The volunteers do get some benefits out of working such as self-worth, as they feel valued because of what they are able to bring.
"We want to help people who join the team as they volunteer for many different reasons. For some it is about getting a foot in the door as they were not being considered in other retail jobs. The skills they learn here can then be completely transferred to other retail jobs."
The Lighthouse charity shop sells furniture, electrics, clothes, media, bric-a-brac, and many other materials.
The store is spacious enough to allow it to have the furniture on show and make it easier for families with pushchairs or people in wheelchairs who require access around the store.
Mrs Kennedy said: "We are always on the lookout for new customers and love to welcome people into the shop. We want them to have a lovely experience when they are here.
"We are after donations and can do pick-ups, particularly for large furniture. If you do have things that you would like to donate, we would be most grateful for them.
"We also have a 20-minute drop-off point outside the shop before 10am and after 4pm for people to drop things off."
The store has drivers who can pick up any pre-loved items, of any size, and people can call the shop to arrange a time on 01283 347692.
More information on Valley CIDS and the work it does is available by visiting www.valleycids.co.uk