More people helped back into employment as charity expands

A CHARITY will be able to help more people get back into employment after moving to a new home.

Home to Work, which is based in Cleator Moor, Cumbria, is expanding its services after taking on a second building in the town.

Home to Work’s new premises in Cleator Moor, Cumbria

Home to Work’s new premises in Cleator Moor, Cumbria

The move means its Skills 4 You workshop courses and support services will be delivered from its current centre at Ennerdale Road as well as the new premises on High Street.

The charity has teamed up with BEC, a profit-for-purpose property firm, to share its offices in the Old Board of Trade building, which has become the new head office of Home to Work, as well as a base for its employment support and advice services, and a therapy space.

Karen Jones, Managing Director of Home to Work, and Joe Martin, Head of Programmes at BEC

Karen Jones, Managing Director of Home to Work, and Joe Martin, Head of Programmes at BEC

Karen Jones, Managing Director of Home to Work, said the charity had been looking to expand for some time.

She said: “We have a waiting list of people wanting to use our services but we simply didn’t have the space before to accommodate them.

“The new building will transform the way we work and allow us to expand our services across the two sites, reaching more people than ever.

“We’re looking at offering new courses in furniture restoration and cookery, alongside our established workshops in woodwork and crafts, which will continue at our Ennerdale Road centre.

“This is such a moment of growth for the charity and we’re very excited about the possibilities for the future.”

The move was made possible thanks to the support of BEC, which agreed to rent its Cleator Moor office to the charity.

Joe Martin, Head of Programmes at BEC, said he was delighted that Home to Work was moving into the building.

He said: “We have all had to respond to Covid and BEC is no different – our utilisation of the Cleator Moor office space has dropped significantly since the start of the pandemic as we have had to adapt to more flexible working practices.

“When we heard that Karen had been really struggling to find more space to expand their amazing work in the community in Cleator Moor and beyond, it made complete sense to come to a mutually beneficial arrangement.

“BEC will retain a small presence in the building for our team to work flexibly.”

The Skills 4 You project aims to build people’s confidence, help them find ways to cope with anxiety and depression, and give them essential skills to better equip them for the workplace.

The eight-week practical skills courses are complemented with support to help find employment such as interview techniques and completing a job application.

Participants also have the opportunity to take part in online training courses to strengthen job applications, and learn relaxation and coping techniques to help them deal with anxiety and stress.

Karen said: “The pandemic has made a difficult situation much worse for many people. Our role is to help people regain their confidence so they can transition into employment.”

Established seven years ago to combat high unemployment in the area, the project’s ultimate goal is to change people’s lives for the better by focusing on the underlying issues behind unemployment.

Karen said: “The Skills 4 You project aims to help people overcome the obstacles which are preventing them from moving on with their lives and eventually finding employment.

“Many of our clients have multiple complex issues such as mental health problems, physical disability or generational unemployment, and our purpose is to build their confidence.”

The project’s success is not just measured in the amount of people who move into employment, but also through those who go on to do volunteering work, accredited courses or work experience.

The Skills 4 You project receives grant funding from Copeland Community Fund, Sellafield Ltd and Cumbria Community Foundation.

It is also funded by Works 4 You, a social enterprise run by Home to Work, which provides garden maintenance services including grass cutting to local parish and town councils as well as private individuals, and the Cleator Moor Community Shop, which opened in 2019 in High Street.

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