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Fairy Jobmother helps to create pathway to employment

TV’s Fairy Jobmother, Hayley Taylor, has launched two new schemes to help teach ‘hands on’ skills and create pathways to employment.

The Channel 4 presenter, who is a patron of Coast & Country’s Westfield Farm community resource centre in Dornmanstown in Cleveland, has established the programmes to help residents create better futures.

Coast & Country, one of the North East’s largest regeneration and housing companies, is converting a barn at the farm into a training venue for residents to learn ‘hands on’ construction and allied skills.

At the same time, it also has teamed up with Sure Trax and New College Durham to launch a new initiative called ‘Forging Futures’, which will help create pathways into employment for jobless residents through vocational and employability training activities

Hayley Taylor unveiled a plaque at the farm, which is located in Dormanstown, to mark the launch of both schemes.

The conversion of the barn is being backed by North East Procurement and the ‘Forging Futures’ project by the European Social Fund Skills Support for Unemployed.

The barn will be used for a variety of projects including ‘Under Construction’ delivering basic courses on construction sector skills to young people to move them onto formal training and employment.

Other projects include ‘Henry’s DIY Barn,’ a basic DIY course for tenants wishing to carry out home improvements and ‘Barn Owls’ which will invite retired people to pass on their practical and handicraft skills to young people.

The barn conversion and ‘Forging Futures’ are a further extension of the facilities on offer at Westfield Farm, where historic farm buildings have been renovated by Coast & Country to create a community resource centre.

Hayley said: “The vision and ambition behind Westfield Farm continues to grow to offer even more tangible support and help to enable residents to forge a better future for themselves and their families.

“These latest schemes are all fantastic with immense potential to enable people to become valued workers. However, I particularly love the ‘Barn Owls’ initiative.

“Retired people possess a wealth of knowledge and this will ensure that their vital knowhow is not lost, but is passed onto future generations to improve their employment prospects.

“I am so proud to be Patron of such a fantastic facility that combines instilling people with greater confidence, life skills and knowhow, both practical and theoretical, to help them secure jobs.”

Westfield Farm provides training, meeting and conference facilities, community gardens and allotments, a community resource and training centre, and a base from which Coast & Country delivers its ‘Journey into Work’ programme.

It also is a base for the Working Communities Team, which comprises nine Jobcentre Plus staff working alongside Coast & Country and Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council’s Routes to Employment Team to take the service out to communities, and Redcar & Cleveland Voluntary Development Agency.

Iain Sim, Coast & Country Chief Executive, said: “Coast & Country’s work goes beyond the provision of housing, but also includes the delivery of community-based services to tackle unemployment and social exclusion.

“Westfield Farm’s part in helping residents overcome barriers to employment and equipping them with work-related skills continues apace as is demonstrated by the conversion of the barn and the launch of ‘Forging Futures’.

“We are confident that the strong partnerships we are building with a range of agencies, alongside robust targets, will sustain and maintain the success of Westfield Farm.”

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