A life-changing project which has got 1250 people into work and helped more than 100 business start-ups in the Bradford area has received an award as part of a competition highlighting the vital community work carried out by housing associations across the country.
Incommunities’ Open Field project won the Yorkshire and Humberside Building Futures award in the National Housing
Federation’s Community Impact Awards at the Marriott Hotel in Leeds.
The Open Field scheme is helping Incommunities’ residents fight back against the recession and high unemployment levels in the city through the Work Wh
ere You Live initiative, which puts job seekers in touch with local employers.
The housing association offers guidance and advice ahead of job interviews, and has increased the number of apprenticeships and quality work
experience placements on offer to the long-term unemployed.
Open Field also provides qualified coaches to support new business start-ups and encourages residents to stay out of debt by giving practical advice on loan-sharks, training on money matters and by providing affordable loans. Incommunities also pays for a worker at the local Credit Union and provides incentives for residents to join the scheme.
So far, Open Field has provided training and practical support for more than 1,000 people.
al Housing Federation Yorkshire and Humberside Lead Manager Rob Warm said: “With the recession biting and unemployment levels rising in Bradford, housing association projects which get people into work have never been more critical. Incommunities is putting a huge amount of effort into getting people back on their feet using every method possible – from apprenticeships and support for business start-ups right through to getting people out of debt and linking people to local employers. They are worthy winners of the National Housing Federation’s regional Building Futures award.
“This project shows how housing associations go far beyond providing people with homes – they help residents live life to the full and create he
althy and happy neighbourhoods. Last year alone housing associations helped more than eight million people across the country and invested more than half a billion pounds back into communities.”
Geraldine Howley, Incommunities Group Chief Executive said: “We are delighted to have won this prestigious award. This is fitting recognition of the contribution of everyone in our Open Field service who share a commitment to making a positive difference to people and families across communities.
“In these challenging economic times, our dedicated staff work with residents, partner agencies and employers to help people into work, training, self employment and also give money management advice. Open Field is an excellent example of how, as an organisation, we are ‘Improving lives Incommunities’”.
The Community Impact Awar
ds recognise the vast range of neighbourhood projects run by housing associations above and beyond providing homes.The national winner of the awards, which are sponsored by Morrison and 24housing magazine, will be announced early next year.