A YOUTH PROJECT that has helped homeless young people in Denbigh onto “the straight and narrow” and to discover their life’s potential has been shortlisted for a national award.

Denbigh Youth Shedz, the youth development project based near HWB Dinbych community centre, has been listed as a finalist of the UK Housing Awards that celebrates innovative housing projects.

The Denbigh project started less than two years ago after six homeless young people who live at HWB Dinbych’s Yr Hafod residency teamed up with life skills coach Scott Jenkinson. They wanted to tackle anti-social behaviour in the town by providing a safe space for their struggling peers to develop relationships, talk about mental health, learn employable skills and improve physical well-being.

Yr Hafod is support housing provided by Grŵp Cynefin, who run HWB Dinbych, until its homeless residents are able to move on to independent living.

When the six Denbigh youngsters and Mr Jenkinson came up with the idea for the youth project, Grŵp Cynefin gave them a large double garage at the back of Yr Hafod to turn into their own workspace. The group then painted and built benches and storage areas to hand-make the garage a vibrant space today known as Youth Shedz, which hosts development programmes that reach the most disconnected young people in the area.

Following the project's award shortlist, Mr Jenkinson said: “I couldn’t be happier - to be a finalist in this award is just amazing! I am thrilled for the project but I’m more thrilled for the young people, they have worked so hard with us to get Youth Shedz where it is today. Winning this award would be the perfect recognition of everyone’s efforts."

Keira George, one of the six founding youth members of Youth Shedz, said the project has helped her to distance from anti-social behaviour and discover she is a “bubbly, natural born leader”. She said: “Growing up on the streets of Denbigh was boring and the town was lacking potential for the youth. I was involved with a lot of anti-social behaviour and getting up to no good. It didn’t help with knowing all the wrong people.

"After moving into Yr Hafod and ever since the idea of setting up a youth project came about my life started to look up.

“Youth Shedz has improved my life massively so far. I have not been in trouble once, life has gone on the straight and narrow. It’s helped me have closure on my past, but help me accept it as well.

“The shed has helped me realise my true colours – a loud, bubbly, natural born leader. I’ve been given so many opportunities to blossom as an individual and also as a team member; the opportunities are never ending.

“I hope Youth Shedz will help other members of the community, as it did for me.”

Mair Edwards, community initiatives manager for Grŵp Cynefin, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Youth Shedz are finalists for the UK Housing Awards this year. This project has been developed entirely by young people for young people.

"To see the confidence and the journey of all the Shedderz is inspiring and we at Grwp Cynefin are very proud of their achievements!”

The UK Housing Awards winners will be announced on May 1.