SHED project impresses community award judges
Published by Kelly Elliott for Derwentside Homes Ltd in Housing and also in Communities
Pictured at the official opening of SHED last year are Keith Tallintire, Director of Resources at Derwentside Homes, and Ian Brimer, Chief Executive of North East Procurement, which donated funding towards the scheme, along with local pupils Verity Robson
A project which provides work and training to long-term unemployed people in part of County Durham has been shortlisted for a national award.
SHED (Social Housing Enterprise Durham) provides low-cost home improvement services to residents in the Derwentside area, including painting, decorating, gardening, fencing and general building maintenance.
The project, which was set up by housing association Derwentside Homes, employs local people to carry out the work and provides them with on the job training leading to NVQ qualifications.
Now the scheme has been shortlisted in the Building Futures category of the Community Impact Awards – an event organised by the National Housing Federation which recognises the vast range of neighbourhood projects run by housing associations.
Staff from SHED, which is supported by the East Durham Partnership, will find out if they have won the regional award during a ceremony in Newcastle on 24 October. If successful, the project will be put forward for the national awards, early next year.
Derwentside Homes Chief Executive Geraldine Wilcox said: “We’re thrilled that SHED has been shortlisted in the Community Impact Awards, especially as the judging panel is made up of social housing tenants, who know first-hand the difference housing associations can make.
“Our staff have worked really hard to set the project up and ensure it reaches the people it aims to support, so I’m really pleased their efforts have been recognised.
“SHED is already making a difference the lives of many local people and we hope this success will allow us to spread the word even further.”
Since it was established in February 2011, SHED has employed 24 job-seekers through the Future Jobs Fund, all of who have completed an NVQ Level 2 in Business Improvement Techniques, with eight apprenticeships also created.
In addition, all SHED employees undergo training in health and safety, working at heights/ladders, asbestos awareness, manual handling and operating machinery. They are also registered with the Construction Skills Certification Scheme, increasing their future employability.
The national winner of the Community Impact Awards, which are sponsored by Morrison and 24housing magazine, will be announced early next year.