Photo exhibition celebrates success of unique project 


The achievements of people, who have taken part in a unique programme to help them overcome barriers to finding work, are being celebrated in a photography exhibition which will tour the Tees Valley.

The exhibition, I Am Step Forward, features more than 30 images which highlight the benefits the programme has brought for its participants. The striking images were specially-commissioned to showcase what people taking part in Step Forward Tees Valley feel they had gained from being part of the programme.

Step Forward Tees Valley gives bespoke one-to-one support to people to help them overcome issues that are stopping them finding work or training. Issues can include ill health; low self confidence; depression; lack of skills; substance misuse and many more.

Since it began three years ago, Step Forward Tees Valley has helped hundreds of people overcome barriers, boost their self esteem, improve their skills and move forward with their lives. Many have started work, training or volunteering for the first time.

Glen, from Middlesbrough, had to leave his retail job because of mobility problems and joined the Step Forward Tees Valley programme. Thanks to his hard work on the programme he now has a job and he is featuring in the exhibition.


He said: “It’s great how it’s all worked out. I’d recommend the programme to other people!”

I Am Step Forward will launch in Middlesbrough at the Livewell Centre on Thursday May 17 before touring venues in Darlington, Stockton, Hartlepool, Redcar, Thornaby and Billingham. The exhibitions will be held in public spaces and will be free to enter. Each photograph will be accompanied by the story of the participant who will explain how the programme has helped them.

Kevin Seed, Acting Programme Manager for Step Forward Tees Valley, said: “We are delighted to have curated this very special exhibition which celebrates the Step Forward programme and the benefits people have experienced from taking part. We hope the exhibition will not only mark the achievements of those who have achieved so much, but will also encourage others to become involved in the programme.”

The project is funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund.


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