A SCHEME to revive the employment fortunes of those living on a Darlington estate is celebrating after helping 200 people find jobs - more than treble its original target.

Firthmoor Into Work was established three years ago after community leaders identified that an employment project was essential to the area's regeneration.

Because of the success, the scheme may be expanded to another area of the town.

The Firthmoor initiative received funding from regional development agency One NorthEast and organisers confirmed this week that it had surpassed all expectations.

The scheme's target was to get 20 people into work each year - over three years - but it has helped secure jobs for 200 residents.

People have found employment in a range of sectors, from the care industry to construction and childcare.

The scheme is based at the Maidendale House community centre and offers job-seekers support in updating CVs, searching for vacancies and advice on interview skills and preparation.

Financial support with travel and childcare costs while job searching is also available, as well as funding for training courses.

On securing a job, people receive a £50 bonus.

Sarah Bentley, assistant manager of the Morrison Trust, which runs Firthmoor Into Work, said: "The project was set up to answer the needs of people on the Firthmoor estate and it has proved to be very successful.

"Many people say their self-confidence and self-esteem has improved as well, which can only help them to go even further in their chosen career."

On the back of its success, the Morrison Trust has now secured funding to deliver a similar project in the Lascelles area of Darlington.

Ms Bentley said: "To help support 200 people into work in Firthmoor is a real achievement we are proud of and one which we will continue to build on.

"We are currently renovating a vacant shop on the Lascelles estate, where we are going to develop a project modelled on Firthmoor Into Work to help even more people gain jobs."