An innovative partnership between housing associations, learning providers and local authorities are providing essential support to local residents in Northumberland to help boost their employability skills.
The North of Tyne Working Homes project is a collaboration between seven organisations in the North of Tyne area, providing support to housing tenants to help them move closer or into work and breaking down multiple barriers such as childcare, financial and qualifications to increase their confidence and skills set.
The project, which is part-funded by the European Social Fund, launched in April 2019 and over 700 have already benefitted from this valuable service.
The support is a welcome boost, particularly in this current climate. Despite restrictions around social distancing and changes in service where face-to-face contact is limited, the project is still very much supporting local people.
In addition to Karbon Homes, the other six organisations involved in delivering the project include Bernicia Homes, Newcastle Futures Limited, North Tyneside Housing, Northern Learning Trust, Northumberland County Council Housing Services and Your Homes Newcastle.
Residents benefit from a range of support including formal and informal learning, skills development, job preparation and helping to manage tenancies. As well as finding work, tenants can build their resilience and gain the skills to maintain successful tenancies.
One of Karbon’s residents who has already benefitted is Jason Gallon from Prudhoe. Last year, Jason was made redundant from his job of 12 years, so he turned to Karbon’s Foundations for Life team to help him find work.
His employment advisor, Brendan McCreesh, put in place an action plan to support him and his family and helped him to develop his CV, carry out job searches and encouraged him to attend a local jobs fair to make new contacts and look for potential work.
He initially secured employment as a customer delivery driver for Tesco and now works for B&M. He said: “It’s a role I enjoy very much. I worked hard over the summer and I am happy to have found work and feel more confident than I did a year ago. I am really happy with the support I received from Brendan and Karbon Homes.”
Susan Ogle, Housing Operations Manager at Northumberland County Council, said: “This is proving to be a great service and we are proud to be able to offer vital opportunities towards improving education and employment options for our tenants. We have seen an increase in reliance upon this service from our tenants as the uncertainty around employment continues to increase. Having this project is invaluable, enabling us, as a landlord, to further extend much needed support."
Gill Smith, CEO Northern Learning Trust, said: “Through bringing together a diverse range of delivery partners, the North of Tyne Working Homes project provides a broad range of opportunities and support, enabling local people to develop their skills and make positive changes in their lives. Social housing providers are so much more than just landlords these days and as a small charity, Northern Learning Trust is proud to be able to support our Northumberland housing partners to deliver this fantastic service.”
Suzanne Jobson, Foundations for Life Manager at Karbon Homes, said: “Due to the current economic climate, there is so much uncertainty at the moment but, the North of Tyne Working Homes project is still actively supporting residents across the Northumberland area.
"We are delighted to see the impact this project is making to the lives of local people and it is another great example of organisations coming together by stepping up and supporting their tenants and residents.”
The North of Tyne Working Homes project is part-funded by the European Social Fund as part of the England 2014 to 2020 European Structural Investment Funds Programme.