THERE is a group of young people from the Ludlow and Tenbury area that have a very special reason to celebrate this Christmas.

Because of an initiative near Ludlow and Tenbury they have been given something very special – a chance in life.

Many of the young people that go through the doors of the Bluestone Centre at Bleathwood had been written off by the conventional education system.

Frustrated and disenchanted they had been excluded from mainstream schools because in some cases they were disruptive.

But instead of being thrown on the scrap heap, even as little more than children, they were given a place at the Bluestone Centre that was set up by Paddy Brennan.

But this has been no easy option and they have been given the opportunity to take part in a range of different courses.

These have included skills such as plastering, bricklaying, woodwork, horticulture, customer service and specialist coffee making.

Not only do these 10 weeks courses give the young people a skill and some self esteem but it also sets them on the road to other opportunities.

“The young people leave us with practical skills and also in many cases they are work ready,” said Paddy Brennan.

“In other cases, it gives them the spur that they need to get back into mainstream education and in some cases go on to college.”

This evening at the Bleustone Centre there will be an awards presentation to recognise the achievements of the young people. It will be attended by guests including Tim Gill, Mayor of Ludlow and Sue Perry, the Mayor of Tenbury.

Paddy Brennan who came with his family to Birmingham from the troubles in Ireland knows what it is like to have a difficult start in life.

He made a success of his life through boxing where he reached international level and subsequent in business.

Bluestone was born out of having to move the Tenbury Boxing Club from the Town Centre.

There is still a gym and boxing academy but now much more including training facilities and a clubhouse that can be used by the local community.

Also, on the site there are glamping pods that people can use when visiting the area.

“The young people that come here are not bad, but they need to be given a chance,” added Mr Brennan.

“We will be celebrating their success but also saying thank you to families and others that have helped.

“There are few things more gratifying than to see a young person building a life that might otherwise have gone the wrong way.

“I feel very passionately that the kind of thing that we are doing is not only good for the youngsters but also for the wider community and the economy of the country.”

Both boys and girls attend the centre for training.

“As well as leaving with a skill the young people have improved self-esteem and a sense of achievement,” Mr Brennan added.

“The great thing is that we are changing lives and there is every reason for all of those involved to be celebrating this Christmas.”