Bulwell community group scoops £358,000 cash boost

NEWS: News.
NEWS: News.

Hundreds of unemployed, homeless and vulnerable people will be given the chance to learn life-changing new skills in Bulwell – thanks to a £358,000 grant.

The Workshop, in Lillington Road, is part of Community Interest Company EVE Trades. It provides training opportunities in painting and decorating, DIY and woodworking and has received the three year grant from the Big Lottery’s Reaching Communities funding stream.

Over the last three years, the Workshop’s trained instructors have helped more than 700 vulnerable people to learn new skills, with many progressing into further learning, volunteering and employment.

Participants, many of whom are referred from support services across the County, face a number of barriers to learning such as mental health problems, learning disabilities, substance and alcohol misuse issues, offending histories, physical disabilities and long term unemployment.

Claire Eden, Chief Executive of EVE Trades, said: “Since the project has been running, hundreds of learners at the Workshop have not only gained new skills but also overcome many personal issues. Feedback has shown that many learners have seen their mood improve, felt fitter, happier and more confident, found it easy to talk to people, felt less isolated within their community and reduced substance and alcohol use. This funding will allow us to continue this truly life-changing work for the benefit not only of the individuals involved, but also of the wider community.

Alan Hutchison was unemployed and suffering from arthritis and the challenge of dyslexia when he heard about The Workshop.

He says: “I was unemployed, unwell and getting little support looking for work. I was just wasting my time doing nothing. I found out about the courses and it was the best thing I ever did.”

“The Workshop staff gave me support with my numeracy and literacy. I didn’t feel judged or any pressure to try and do better than everyone else. They also helped me to feel positive about myself and my ability again. Through the skills I learned on the course I felt ready to go on to better things.”

Each course at the Workshop lasts four weeks and learners can access one or all of the courses that are on offer. Participants will also not be left out of pocket whilst attending as travel costs to and from the centre are refunded and lunch is provided daily.

During each course learners have on-going support to help them reach their learning and personal goals, such as one-to-one instruction from tutors, volunteers and a specialist in-house learning support worker. They also receive help with literacy and numeracy and can a benefit from free information, advice and guidance sessions, which are run weekly on-site.

Once learners have completed the courses they can progress into volunteering placements within EVE Trade’s social enterprises that operate out of The Workshop.

Volunteers will then also have the opportunity to gain further training in working at height, manual handling, and gain a construction skills certificate.

People can refer themselves to courses at The Workshop. Alternatively workers at support services throughout the county can also refer clients on their behalf. To book a place on a course in 2014 contact the team on 0115 9709536 or visit www.evetrades.co.uk for more information.