Recognition for scheme to help people find jobs

The Northern Echo: The Brighter Futures scheme, for people living in County Durham, is run by housing association Derwentside Homes. The Brighter Futures scheme, for people living in County Durham, is run by housing association Derwentside Homes.

A PROJECT which supports unemployed people back into work and training has been recognised for its successes.

The Brighter Futures scheme, for people living in County Durham, is run by housing association Derwentside Homes and provides free help in areas such as CV writing, interview techniques, job hunting and accessing training courses.

The project is funded by North East Procurement (NEP), a consortium of social housing providers who purchase labour or materials collaboratively, with the money saved used to deliver activities which benefit local communities.

Now Brighter Futures has been recognised at NEP's inaugural Northern Stars Awards, with the project's employment initiatives officer Michelle Graham named winner of the NEP Achiever (Member) award in recognition of her work supporting local people into employment.

Chief executive of NEP, Phil Wise, said: ''Our Northern Stars award winners are a true reflection of how community spirit is thriving across the North-East, despite tough economic conditions.”

Ms Graham, from Stanley, has worked with more than 300 people since the Brighter Futures project was launched last year, helping 257 access training courses and 85 into work.

Her recent success stories include helping 29-year-old Chris Fenwick, who had been unemployed for three years following a motorbike accident, secure a six-month placement with roofing contractor Springs Roofing.

After impressing his bosses during the placement he was subsequently given a permanent contract with the company.

She also coached 26-year-old Michael Stevenson in job application and interview techniques, leading to him being taken on as a warehouse operative by Consett-based caravan and motorhome company Elddis.

The NEP Northern Stars Awards, which was hosted by BBC Look North presenter Carol Malia, took place at the Discovery Museum in Newcastle, with nominations for the seven awards on offer coming from members and supply chain organisations.

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