Press Release November 25th 2013
Creating Jobs and Decent Homes from Empty Houses
This week is National Empty Homes Week which highlights the waste of empty properties nationwide, and celebrates the success of initiatives to bring empty homes back into use and to encourage more widespread action.
Fresh Horizons, an innovative Deighton based social enterprise, have been pioneering a project aimed at bringing empty properties back into use, supported by Kirklees Councils and in partnership with Connect Housing Association.
To help carry out the work, Fresh Horizons has recruited four local young unemployed people as apprentices, supported by experienced Construction staff and the company’s Community Learning Mentor. The Kirklees Council Jobs Fund has helped them to recruit an additional 11 young people working as trainees on the programme for six months.
The trainees and apprentices attend day release at Kirklees College to develop the skills they practice on site. Staff work intensively with them to build their skills and confidence, providing interview preparation and access to courses to increase their skills and confidence. At the end of the 6 month programme all trainees will be interviewed for a limited further number of apprenticeships at the Company.
Glendene Gill, Community Learning Mentor, said “Fresh Horizons is looking for employers who can take on the trainees we can’t at the end of programme, when they will have gained valuable experience and a Level 1 qualification through the College.” Prosperctive employers can contact Glendene on 01484 551520.
Apprentice Javen Richards, 20, said, “This is my first ever Job and i am enjoying it so much. I’m learning new skills and I am happy I have been given the opportunity to to work and get paid for it.”
Jason Oldfield, 24, a Kirklees Jobs Fund trainee said, “Fresh Horizons is a good environment to work in. It’s great that people are giving me a chance to get some real experience which will help when I am am working in the real world. I enjoy painting and decorating and joinery and would like to secure full time employment with them.”
“This programme creates a solution for a host of social problems. Long term empty properties, that can create nuisance and become an eye sore for our communities, are brought back into use. Owners of the empty homes get an income from part of the rent. Young people get valuable work experience and skills, many for the first time. Local people in housing need get affordable accommodation.” commented Mike McCusker Managing Director of Fresh Horizons.
“The trainees and apprentices have been outstanding.” Kevan McDonald, Construction Manager at the Company says, “These young people have shown that when given a chance for meaningful work with a future they put every effort in.”
Through approaching social issues holistically Fresh Horizons has been able to demonstrate enormous social and economic value. This initiative helps reduce crime and the fear of crime, improves community assets and provides rental income, as well as enabling long term unemployed young people access learning and jobs.
Kirklees Council Cabinet member for Streetscene and Housing, Cllr Cathy Scott, said: “This project not only helps bring homes back into use but is also providing much needed jobs and training for those working with Fresh Horizons. Local employers will benefit from the scheme as it will raise the calibre of those applying for jobs once they have completed their training and experience.”
|For further Information, please contact:
||Business Development Manager
|Tel: 01484 551520
||Fax: 01484 234224
|Mobile: 07949 817185
About Fresh Horizons
Fresh Horizons, situated in Deighton, is a growing social enterprise, employing over 70 people, that helps people in areas of deprivation feel proud of what they do and where they live.
By engaging local people, with local knowledge, to solve local problems Fresh Horizons provides opportunities for learning, development and employment; engages people in community life through managing facilities and local events; and improves the quality and safety of community assets. As a social enterprise surpluses are re-invested into services that benefit the community. And as it grows Fresh Horizons creates more jobs, develops more community assets and helps more people improve their lives.