A LEADING Bolton Charity has got a new name – and the efforts of its boss could see her winning a national award. NEIL BRANDWOOD reports.

WHAT’S in a name?

Well, quite a lot according to Maura Jackson, who has been CEO of Bolton Young Persons Housing Scheme for the past six years.

She revealed the charity’s new name at its annual general meeting yesterday.

And there is further cause for celebration because Mrs Jackson is up for a national award.

“The name of Bolton Young Persons Housing Scheme was too long and wordy, so from now on it will be known as Backup,” explained Mrs Jackson.

“The old name suggested it was a small housing charity and it didn’t adequately reflect all that we do.

“As well as finding accommodation for young homeless people, we provide a range of support in such areas as education, sexual exploitation, mental health and employment .

“The name ‘Backup’ helps us be seen as a wrap-around service. We are a backup to those who need us, we’ve got their backs, and we’re there to help them get back up on their feet.”

To celebrate the change, staff, clients and others involved in the charity have created a video based on the Madness hit, Our House. The band waived their usual permission fee.

Another online video by the charity features Cherie Blair, Andy Burnham, Bolton Wanderers players and more than 40 others stating the organisation’s new name.

It is an exciting time for the charity because as well as its rebranding, Mrs Jackson recently learned she is a finalist in the National Business Women’s Awards, after being nominated by a colleague.

She said: “I couldn’t believe it when I found out, in fact I was really overwhelmed. Everything these days is usually done by email so when I got an actual letter I assumed it was junk mail at first.

“I have been nominated in the Third Sector Champion category, which is for charities.

“Because it’s a business awards, the focus is on my business acumen.”

This is something that Mrs Jackson has more than proved since she became CEO of the charity six years ago.

During that time she has quadrupled income and turnover from £465,000 to £2.1 million. In addition, she has increased the number of staff from 13 to 60.

By doing so, it means the number of young people the charity can now accommodate has grown from 33 to 105.

“From the beginning, my vision was to do everything in my power to ensure no young person had to live on the street,” said Mrs Jackson, who will be attending the award ceremony at Wembley Stadium on December 7.

The charity was set up in 1992 to offer support, accommodation and education to young people aged 16 to 25 who are homeless. It provides an opportunity for them to be safe and stable, and to develop skills for independence.

It accommodates 100 young people at any one time, and supports around 400 a year in Bolton.

One of its latest projects is an appeal for people or businesses to be trained by the charity to become guardians of young people who are homeless.

It is yet another way in which it forms relationships with the community of Bolton. The charity already operates in partnerships with various individuals, businesses and agencies across all sectors. Landlords and registered providers who support the organisation include Irwell Valley Housing Association and Contour.