Engineering and design consultancy Sweco UK has lent technical support to Leeds charity “Community Action to Create Hope” (CATCH) to expand its Harehills premises.
Sweco provided pro-bono ground risk and engineering advice that helped CATCH secure planning permission for a new temporary structure, which will serve as a classroom for youth development and engagement work.
CATCH was founded by West Yorkshire Police officer Ash Razzaq in 2009 and aims to help local residents, particularly young people, build a better future and further their personal development through recreational and volunteering opportunities, in a safe community space.
The volunteer-run initiative – which is also the 2019 official charity partner of Sweco’s Leeds office – operates one of the largest youth clubs in Leeds and provides a range of community facilities, including a community café, garden, gym, educational farm and sports facilities.
As well as helping the charity secure planning permission, Sweco’s Leeds-based employees have raised more than £1,400 so far this year through activities such as dress-down days and bake sales to support CATCH’s initiatives.
Ash Razzaq, founder of CATCH, said: “Our mission is all about creating brighter futures for young people in our local area and tackling some of the challenges they can often face like poverty, exploitation and crime.
“The support of local businesses like Sweco makes a real difference to the more than 1,300 children and young people we work with. It means we can continue to bring together young people from a huge range of different backgrounds to develop new skills, grow as individuals and have fun in a safe place, while empowering them to make good decisions – all key steps towards building a safer community.
“Sweco has not only helped us financially, but also applied its engineering expertise to help us take the next step in our plans for expansion, furthering the work we can do. Sweco has also booked the CATCH building for meetings and events which enables us to spread the word of CATCH.”
Neil Willis, Sweco UK’s head of learning and development, said: “CATCH plays a hugely important role in Leeds, helping to build its participants’ self-confidence, reduce crime and develop community cohesion, and we’re proud to be able to lend some of our time, knowledge and resource to help it continue to flourish.
“A major challenge for some children when growing up is a lack of strong role models, which can lead them to turning to unhealthy communities for support.
“Our relationship with CATCH has given Sweco team members the chance to act as role models for some of its young people, showcasing some of the alternative paths and opportunities that could be available in the world of work. It’s been a great opportunity for our team to get involved with a local project that matters.”
Sweco’s support of CATCH is just one part of its ongoing relationships with organisations and good causes in the Leeds area, including the Leeds Community Foundation (LCF) – the region’s largest independent grant maker. Sweco is a member of the LCF’s ‘Leeds 100 Club’, which helps the foundation meet core costs, boosting its resilience and ensuring it can commit long term to community groups across Leeds and Bradford.