Employment project shortlisted for national award
Published by Craig Downs for Derwentside Homes Ltd in Housing and also in Communities
Front l-r: 25-year-old Adam Cox and 29-year-old Chris Fenwick, who both secured jobs with Springs Roofing through Derwentside Homes’ Brighter Futures project, pictured with (back l-r) Phil Wise (CEO of NEP), Tracey Peggie (NEP Employment initiatives Man
A County Durham housing association has been shortlisted for a prestigious, national award after helping more than 100 residents into employment.
Derwentside Homes’ Brighter Futures project, which aims to help local unemployed people into education, training and work, has been shortlisted for a National Housing Federation Community Impact Award.
The project was awarded £50,000 of funding from North East Procurement (NEP), a consortium of North East based social housing providers which fund various community projects in the North East.
Since launching in May 2012, the project has worked with more than 350 clients, 187 of which were Derwentside Homes tenants and more than 100 people have been supported into employment, with 56 progressing beyond six months.
By reducing unemployment the project aims to create a positive change in local neighbourhoods, encouraging a sense of pride in the community and inspiring the next generation.
Geraldine Kay, Chief Executive at Derwentside Homes, said: “We are thrilled to be shortlisted for the awards after our hard work in the community to ensure unemployed residents find work and have access to training courses.
“The results of the project show there is clearly a need for this type of support.
“Much of the successes of Brighter Futures is due to its client-led approach and with further tailored support we can be confident the project will continue to do well in the future.”
Tracey Peggie, Employment Initiatives Manager at NEP, said: “We are delighted that Brighter Futures has been shortlisted in the Community Impact Awards. This is exactly the type of project the fund was designed to support, we wish Derwentside Homes the very best of luck.”
The project has made a range of training courses available, as well as identifying work placement opportunities and apprenticeships for young people.
Other help offered includes CV writing, job searches and helping residents prepare for interviews.
Brighter Futures, which is coordinated by Employment Initiatives Officer Michelle Graham, has also worked in local schools to support more than 500 youngsters who were struggling to engage with lessons, helping them to plan their futures.
June Gatenby, 57, joined the Brighter Futures Developing Skills for Employment course following the death of her mother, who she had cared for full-time.
Despite being ‘full of fear’ when embarking on the five-week programme, she gained so much confidence that she has now set up her own business, which is a sitting service for older and disabled people.
Ms Gatenby said: “During the course I learnt how to use a computer and the internet and now feel so much more confident.”
The Community Impact Awards celebrate the difference that England’s housing associations make through creating opportunities and bringing local communities together.
David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said: “We’ve had some fantastic submissions through for this year’s awards and the judges have had a tough job to do to select those shortlisted.
“Brighter Futures should feel very proud indeed – it is no small feat to have made it this far. It’ll be all eyes now to see who goes through to the finals.”
Regional Community Impact Award winners will be announced on 7th May in York and will then go on to represent the North East in the national finals in June.