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Building brighter futures for Wyre Forest residents

News release issued:

Following a year when 48 Wyre Forest residents have been helped through its Building Brighter Futures Programme, UNITY at Community Housing has been awarded funding for a second year – 2024/25 - to help more people into work.

The Building Brighter Futures programme, funded via Wyre Forest District Council through the government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund, is part of a wider community support scheme being implemented through UNITY and it is going from strength to strength.

The programme offers a grass roots approach by providing ‘tailor made’ one to one help for local people who want to move towards employment but lack the confidence, life skills or training to do it.

Carrie-Ann Carroll at UNITY is the Building Brighter Futures Project Manager. Carrie-Ann said,

“Our ultimate goal is to help individuals of working age move towards employment by helping them to overcome their current barriers into the workplace.  Of course, these obstacles differ from person to person. They could be anything from physical or mental health issues, social isolation, ICT training, Literacy and Numeracy education, lack of self-worth, or simply not knowing where to start after a period of not working.

“We start by meeting and talking with the individual to understand their current situation, what they want to achieve, and looking carefully at what their barriers to working may be.  We then put into place one to one coaching, training or classes to address these challenges.  The support can continue until the needs have been met, our goal is to see that individual empowered to succeed in the workplace, and in their everyday lives.

“Our success to date is down to the individual coaching and support which is completely tailored for the customer. Our Life Skills Advisors, currently numbering nine, are trained to provide the widest range of support to people who have self-referred, or heard about us through friends and family, Community Housing or their GP or healthcare practice.

Stourport-on-Severn resident Michael Demulder is a recent beneficiary of the Building Brighter Futures Programme.  Michael was referred by his housing officer as he needed support to return to the workplace after major surgery and several years out of work.  Sanjay Mistry, Life Skills Advisor for UNITY was paired with Michael. In May 2023, the two met up at Stourport Library to create a plan to support Michael in his return-to-work journey.

Sanjay said:

“Michael was recovering from a major operation to improve his mobility and general health.  From the start, Michael was determined to re-gain control of his life and in particular his ability to participate in work to help support his family. He particularly enjoys helping in his local community so that opened the doors to voluntary work. In our plan, we identified a number of areas for support. These included training to build IT skills, exercise classes, updating his CV, and in time, volunteering at the Civic Hall. Michael also completed a Level 2 Hygiene Certificate as he is interested in catering and hospitality. We have talked on the phone or met in person throughout the programme so we can adjust or make changes as we go along. We took it one stage at a time so Michael could work at a pace that worked alongside his recovery from surgery.”

Michael said: “This programme has been life changing for me. I have come a long way in 12 months and now feel much better health wise and I’ve built my confidence to talk to people and be a useful member of the community.  I volunteer at The Civic and Caroline the manager (pictured) has supported me to meet and greet ‘front of house’ and more recently work on the bar serving drinks and snacks. I couldn’t have done this 12 months ago, so I am really proud of this achievement.  I’m actively looking for a job where I can put my new skills to work.”

Caroline Caldwell, Operational Manager at The Civic said,

“Michael is awesome!  He is always cheerful and helpful and has made a positive contribution to the Civic family.  His ‘can do’ attitude is a breath of fresh air and we’ve felt lucky to have him on our team. He would be an asset to any organisation and we wish him well for the future.”

Councillor Dan Morehead, Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration, Planning and the Green Agenda at Wyre Forest District Council said

“It’s great to see how funding through the government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund is benefiting residents. We are pleased to be part of this process to ensure that funding goes to where it is needed, and it has a real affect on people’s futures which in turn benefits the wider community. The further award is testament to a well thought out programme and we’re proud to be supporting it for a further year.”

Carrie-Ann Carroll from UNITY concludes
“Michael’s story is a real success, and we are so pleased to be continuing our Building Brighter Futures programme to offer this to even more members of our local community.

This is a unique service and the UNITY team at Community Housing are very motivated and proud to evolve it.  We would like to thank Wyre Forest District Council for the support and for recognising the potential of this programme to Build Brighter Futures. We are determined to grow this service to benefit the people of Wyre Forest and as a model that other areas can adopt.”

For more information on the Building Brighter Futures programme visit the Community Housing website or call 01562 733133.

LOGO: Funded by UK Government

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