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Learning Hive launches to boost residents' skills

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Learning Hive launches to boost residents' skills

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Published by Ailsa Macmillan for Derwentside Homes Ltd in Housing and also in Communities

(L – R front row) Karen Morris Head of Community Investment & Customer Services at Derwentside Homes, Gill Smith Northern Learning Trust Operations Manager, Geraldine Kay Chief Executive of Derwentside Homes, Emma Dyson Derwentside Homes apprentice, Jes (L – R front row) Karen Morris Head of Community Investment & Customer Services at Derwentside Homes, Gill Smith Northern Learning Trust Operations Manager, Geraldine Kay Chief Executive of Derwentside Homes, Emma Dyson Derwentside Homes apprentice, Jes

Residents living in County Durham are set to benefit from a new facility that will provide community-led initiatives and accessible learning to boost employability.

Last week, North Durham housing provider, Derwentside Homes launched the Learning Hive at Catchgate in partnership with Northern Learning Trust, thanks to funding from NE Procurement’s (NEP) Future Sparks Fund.

The facility offers courses in subjects such as literacy, numeracy, home budgeting and other financial inclusion programmes. Family learning activities will also be delivered to support families with parenting skills and social confidence.

Along with the funding from NEP, Derwentside Homes have invested significantly into renovating the property to make it a fully accessible training and support venue. Laptops have also been donated by local businesses Springs Roofing and Hodgson Sayers providing residents with the opportunity to apply for jobs and gain new IT skills.

By working in partnership, Derwentside Homes and Northern Learning Trust are developing the learning programmes for the Catchgate Hive.

Avril Gibson, Chief Executive, Northern Learning Trust, said: “Catchgate Learning Hive has been set up based on successful models with other housing organisations such as Your Homes Newcastle and Bernicia.

“This has enabled us to identify that listening to the community and providing learning that is relevant to their everyday lives, quickly leads to them positively engaging and ultimately developing a strong feeling of ownership, especially for residents who have become trained volunteers.

“We will use our experience from the other hives to establish what I am sure is going to be a fantastic community resource for everyone living in the area.”

Jessica Wray, Community Involvement and Investment Officer at Derwentside Homes, said: “The launch of the Learning Hive has been a huge success and will provide residents with the opportunity to learn new skills through a variety of different courses, as well as updating their CVs and boosting their confidence and chances of securing employment.

“It will be an invaluable resource for local residents living in Catchgate to take advantage of the wonderful facilities and opportunities we have provided for them.”

Residents will also be able to take part in Healthy Hive cooking courses, IT courses and health and safety classes.

Tracey Peggie, Employment Initiatives Manager at NEP, said: “The positive impact these community based projects have on our residents’ lives is incredible.

“The Future Sparks Fund was created to sponsor such sustainable initiatives. It is hoped this model will also be replicated in other areas to help others in similar situations.”

For more information on the Learning Hive, please contact Jessica Wray, Community Involvement and Investment Officer at Derwentside Homes on 01207 524 292.

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