Euro-cash boost for Durham unemployed

The Northern Echo: Elizabeth Eddon at Pelaw View Community Centre Elizabeth Eddon at Pelaw View Community Centre

A THRIVING community centre on a deprived housing estate has secured European funding to help people find work.

Pelaw View Community Centre, on Sherburn Road Estate, in Durham City, has been given European Social Fund (ESF) cash to support lone parents, over 50s and people with disabilities enter education and employment.

Residents will be offered one-to-one mentoring, courses aimed at building their confidence and boosting their employment skills and opportunities to gain qualifications, including in food hygiene and first aid.

The money will also fund a recently established job club offering job search support and application guidance.

The community centre was established in 2009, when the estate was suffering from widespread anti-social behaviour.

It was opened with support from Three Rivers Housing and is managed by staff and volunteering residents.

The approach is now used as a model for other housing estates with similar problems.

Last autumn, the centre was awarded £20,000 from BBC Children in Need to hire a youth worker. Durham Area Action Partnership (AAP) has also funded a youth worker’s post.

Louise Longstaff, the centre manager, said: “I was ecstatic at the funding. There is a lot of joblessness on the estate and in the area generally.

“This funding will help people back into employment – especially hard-to-target people.”

Chris Reed, managing director at Three Rivers Housing – a subsidiary of Four Housing Group, said: “We are proud that Three Rivers Housing supplied the premises and set up and funded the volunteering group within such a fantastic community centre.

“We are even more proud of the volunteers and staff who offer such a valuable service to the surrounding community.

“The community group has helped to significantly reduce anti-social behaviour in the area. We are committed to not only providing affordable, good quality housing but also to working in communities to help local people to achieve their goals.”

The new services are due to begin later this month. For more information, call Pelaw View Community Centre on 0191-3757939.

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