Yorkshire Coast Homes (YCH) is a charity and housing association. In 2003 Scarborough Borough Council decided to complete the stock transfer from the local authority to a new independent organisation. On transfer a full improvement programme was begun to bring the homes up to the Government’s Decent Homes standard. Most housing associations are “not for profit” so any funds generated through rent at YCH go towards providing the services that are offered and any surplus is ploughed back to improve the properties and communities. The Altogether Better Project (ATB) began life as a Lottery funded initiative to tackle health inequalities with funding for three years from 2010-2013. As part of the projects exit strategy, and in order to continue the good work of the project it was transferred to YCH social enterprise subsidiary The BEACH. The project was expanded to look at other inequalities aimed towards achieving similar aims: supporting individuals throughout their apprenticeships and work experience and into further employment. Funding for the development of the project was just for 12 months and following the initial success with The BEACH YCH decided to bring the project in house, recognising the value and impact the project had achieved over the previous year. Since joining YCH the ATB team have developed a bespoke work experience and training package under the Kickstart banner which links with various other work experience and training providers to offer the best possible solutions to people’s employment problems.
Yorkshire Homes Brings the Altogether Better Project in House
YCH is now Altogether Better
The team objectives are: • Deliver key messages on health in relation to Physical Activity, Mental Wellbeing and Nutrition (Golden Triangle of Health) • Increase participation in physical exercise • Reduce health inequalities • Reduce social isolation • Increase mental wellbeing • Provide assistance for people to get into training, • Offer work experience opportunities via Kickstart • Provide assistance for people to get into employment
The Altogether Better Project aims to help residents in our community make positive changes to their lives in respect of their health or employment status. The team offer group sessions or one to one support with confidence building, weight management, physical activity, nutrition advice and wellbeing. ATB also runs YCH’s work placement programme, Kickstart, which provides valuable real life work experience. Those on Kickstart complete a 2, 4, 6 or 8 week placement in a team that provides them with the experience needed to gain employment in their desired area. Employability skills are also delivered by the team including CV and application form skills, pre interview preparation along with invaluable mock interviews. ATB Project clients are supported according to their level of need which is established at the start of their placement via a one to one interview and the creation of an individual learning plan, which is reviewed weekly. Many of them have deep rooted reasons as to why they find it difficult to find work and lead a healthier lifestyle such as criminal history, substance misuse, mental health issues or ill health to name a few. The ATB Project Coordinator works on a 1-2-1 basis, combating personal issues such as family and housing problems, confidence issues and even personal hygiene. In respect of employment the team ensure work-related skills are developed with the client which is appropriate to the sector in which they wish to gain employment. The ATB Project also runs interview skills and etiquette workshops, in partnership with Scarborough Job Centre and has proved very successful, particularly at raising confidence levels. Working towards a better future, ATB clients are helped to stay on track at work and furthermore gain skills that they can take with them to their next job. Clients are seen on a weekly basis by the Project Co-ordinator to review skills being developed, ensure available jobs are being applied for and any personal issues are addressed and dealt with appropriately and sensitively. In addition support to complete accredited training and qualifications is offered to improve prospects. Job searching support is also offered to The BEACH and YCH apprentices to ensure that they have other employment to move onto after their contract with The BEACH or YCH has ended. ATB supports work experience staff by buying in PPE equipment/ clothing. After their work placement is over they get to keep the PPE items to help them with further employment as new employers will not have to buy this for them. The work placements range from 4-26 weeks and the volunteering options are open ended. In recognition that those on work placement are doing so voluntarily and are in receipt of basic benefits, those on placement receive their lunch as part of the Kickstart programme. The work that this project has completed has been positively received by the users as below evidences. Client DP stated: “I thoroughly enjoyed my time at YCH and leave a much more capable potential employee. My job hunting skills have been vastly improved from application to interview. The placement itself was very fulfilling, working in a welcoming and friendly work force where potential is identified and nurtured”. KC said about his work placement, “I had a great time. You were the best place to go to, to get back into work. Thank you for your help”. MB complimented the supervisors from the teams he was placed with and said “they were both excellent supervisors and helped me a lot on my placement”. AW said “Before my Apprentice interview I received a lot of support from YCH’s Altogether Better project. They helped me with CV building, interview skills and even how to dress for the interview. This really gave me a different perspective on interview preparation and as a result I felt really confident and I was able to answer all of the questions”.
In 2013/14 whilst being run by The BEACH ATB achieved: Economic • 1 employee (Project Co-ordinator) • Social return on investment £687 • 30 people attended employability skills training • Of the 45 people receiving employability skills training or completing Kickstart 16 people gained employment. Social • Supported 171 individuals of which, • 118 received support in relation to the Golden Triangle of Health (Nutrition, Mental Wellbeing and Physical Activity) 25 people attended accredited training courses • 15 people attended Kickstart
Early in the work experience scheme it was identified that some of the participants were struggling financially and following concerns raised by one of the supervisors that one of the volunteers wasn’t eating a ‘Lunch Scheme’ was developed. The Project Coordinator put a scheme into place allocating a £2 voucher for a local sandwich shop, and providing a bottle of water and a packet of crisps, to ensure that unpaid colleagues could afford to eat at work without any financial impact. This has had a tremendous effect on retention of participants and ensured that low incomes are not a barrier to accessing these opportunities. Other learning from last year included the increase demand for Construction based qualification support i.e. CSCS cards. The cost of the CSCS card qualification inhibits those seeking employment in that area and don’t qualify for financial assistance. Financial support for these qualifications has been offered as a result in 2014/15.
The lunch voucher scheme has been extended to YCH and The BEACH apprentices in 2014/15 to support members of staff on a low wage The ATB project goes from strength to strength with 25 individuals receiving support via Kickstart in the first 6 months of 2014 with a further 30 individuals receiving employability support. In addition over 70 people have received support with their health in the same period. The team now consists of a Project Co-ordinator, an Administrative Assistant and an Administrative Assistant Apprentice. We aim to continue to support individuals with their specific life journeys.
Contact Details Claire Simpson Project Co-ordinator email@example.com 01723 343424 Twitter - @ATB_Project