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Employment project success recognised at award ceremony

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Employment project success recognised at award ceremony


Published by Kelly Elliott for Derwentside Homes Ltd in Housing and also in Communities

Michelle being presented with her award by host Carol Malia. Michelle being presented with her award by host Carol Malia.

A project which supports unemployed people living in County Durham back into work and training has been recognised for its successes over the last year.

The Brighter Futures scheme is run by housing association Derwentside Homes and provides free help with areas such as CV writing, interview techniques, job hunting and accessing training courses to anyone living in the local area.

The project is funded by North East Procurement (NEP), a consortium of social housing providers who purchase labour or materials collaboratively, with the money saved used to deliver activities which benefit local communities.

Now Brighter Futures has been recognised at NEP’s inaugural Northern Stars Awards, with the project’s Employment Initiatives Officer Michelle Graham named winner of the NEP Achiever (Member) award in recognition of her work supporting local people into employment.

Michelle, from Stanley, has worked with more than 300 people since the Brighter Futures project was launched last year, helping 257 access training courses and 85 into work.

Her recent success stories include helping 29-year-old Chris Fenwick, who had been unemployed for three years following a motorbike accident, secure a six-month placement with roofing contractor Springs Roofing. After impressing his bosses during the placement Chris was subsequently given a permanent contract with the company.

She also coached 26-year-old Michael Stevenson in job application and interview techniques, leading to him being taken on as a warehouse operative by Consett-based caravan and motorhome company Elddis.

The NEP Northern Stars Awards, which was hosted by BBC Look North's Carol Malia, took place at the Discovery Museum in Newcastle, with nominations for the seven awards on offer coming from members and supply chain organisations.

Chief Executive of NEP, Phil Wise, said: “Our Northern Stars award winners are a true reflection of how community spirit is thriving across the North East, despite tough economic conditions. The evening was a celebration of how individuals and organisations are working together effectively.

“Michelle is one of those individuals who has worked selflessly over the year to make a difference to those people she works with – she should be incredibly proud of her achievements.”

For more information about Brighter Futures, please contact Michelle on 0777 183 1733 or email


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