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Over 100 of our customers have benefitted from the North of Tyne Combined Authority scheme designed to support social housing tenants into work. 

We’re now over half-way through the Working Homes programme, designed by the North of Tyne Combined Authority and funded by the European Social Fund, to provide more quality, more intensive and more collaborative support for social housing tenants on their journey into work.

The need for this support has obviously been exacerbated by the economic situation arising from Covid-19, but, despite many businesses in the region having to change how they operate or close completely for periods of time due to the various restrictions, we’ve still managed to surpass targets for engagement.

So far, support has been provided to 136 customers, with 30 progressing into employment – the target for the latter for the year was 26, so things have gone well despite the unprecedented circumstances. Those supported have gone on to work in a range of roles from administration to care and hospitality to retail, with employers including us, the NHS and the DWP.

One of seven of the scheme’s delivery partners, we have a team of staff who are specifically in place to provide specialist support; but this goes far beyond just helping someone with their CV. A holistic support package helps to develop the confidence, aspirations, motivation and financial capability of customers who need it the most.

The support offered through Working Homes is not just about getting as many people as possible into any available job as quickly as possible; rather it’s about providing thorough, bespoke support to help bring people closer to the jobs market no matter how long they’ve been away from it.

This personalised approach helps to remove barriers, getting to know each individual customer so that a tailored action plan can be put in place to address anything that may be stopping them from finding a job. This can lead to support with digital skills, or interview or assessment day worries, for example.

The project as a whole has now registered its one thousandth participant and one of the YHN customers who has benefitted from the Working Homes programme is mother of three young children, Toni Monaghan.

Toni read about Working Homes in our Homes & People newsletter. She decided to get in touch after being out of work for a number of years while raising her young family. After working with YHN’s Employability Officer, Kelly Mclachlan, Toni is now working in our contact centre through our Your Homes, Your Jobs placement scheme.

She said: “I’d always worked before having my two youngest (twins) who are now four and so I was in a better position to get back into part time employment.  I want to set a good example to my kids and show them that you need to work.  Plus, it was to do something for myself so I could actually spend some time with adults!

“The support I’ve received not only for myself, but also for my children, during lockdown was something I didn’t even know was there.  It’s not just been about getting a job; I’ve had food parcels, support with buying groceries, toys for my children to help keep them entertained, interview/work clothing and even support with childcare costs now that I have got a job to bridge the gap until I get it for free.

“My biggest barrier to getting back into work was always financial, but also not knowing what jobs were out there and who was going to give me a chance.  I’d always wanted to get into office work but had no real experience or qualifications in this area and so I didn’t think it was going to happen.  I did the office admin course that YHN offers through Newcastle City Learning, and that meant I was able to gain these skills.

“I’d tell anyone thinking about getting in touch with YHN’s employability team to go for it – you’ve got absolutely nothing to lose. It’s really good and it works; I got a job!”

Helen Neal, YHN’s Assistant Director Supported Services, said: “We have several programmes to help our customers into work, and have found Working Homes to be particularly beneficial recently due to the bespoke nature of the programme.

“Many of our customers have found themselves out of work this year for the first time in a long time, so they don’t necessarily know how and where to search for jobs, or what to do to give themselves the best possible chance of finding work. The support offered through Working Homes means we’ve been able to completely tailor the package and work with them for as long as it takes for them to be successful.

“As a housing provider, we think employability support is more necessary and relevant than ever and we’re perfectly placed not only to be able to identify the customers in need but to build a collective package of support to help. I’d encourage any of our customers who are looking for work to contact our Employability Team to see how we can help them.”

Any YHN customer who would like support with finding a job can contact their Employability Team on employabilityteam@yhn.org.uk or can call the main Contact Centre on 0191 278 8600.

North of Tyne Cabinet Member for Employability and Inclusion and Deputy Leader of Newcastle City Council Cllr Joyce McCarty said: “We’re working together to provide for opportunities for tenants to train, gain skills, and move into work.

“This is a long-term approach focussed on improving people’s lives, that is central to our ambition to build an inclusive economy in the North of Tyne.”

North of Tyne Working Homes is part funded by the European Social Fund as part of the England 2014 to 2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme.

The project is receiving up to £2.18m of funding from the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. The Department for Work and Pensions (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme. Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.