An innovative training centre aimed at providing unemployed and homeless people with building skills opened on Tyneside yesterday. [FRI]
The Brighter Futures centre at Pottery Lane in Newcastle has been created by Tyneside Cyrenians [correct] to provide effective work experience and training for up to 60 people each year, to help reintegrate them into society and gain employment.
It was opened yesterday by Lord Ramsbotham [correct] and will involve Tyneside Cyrenians working in partnership with a range of organisations including the Drug Interventions Programme, Newcastle City Council, the Building Initiative, Newcastle College and Dunelm Property Services.
The centre has been funded by a £300,000 grant by the Northern Rock Foundation. At the launch yesterday, Lord Ramsbotham, a cross-bench peer who was HM Chief Inspector of Prisons from 1995 to 2001, said: "I am delighted to launch the Brighter Futures Training Centre.
"I have been aware of the work of Tyneside Cyrenians for some time and wholeheartedly applaud their courageous, inventive and resourceful approach to supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged people.
"It is a weakness of our society that, too often perhaps through fear of failure, people do not try the unusual. Sometimes apparently radical solutions turn out to be common sense."
Mike Worthington, chair of Tyneside Cyrenians, said: "The Self Build project convinced us of the need to establish a fixed site from which tailored training courses could be made available at a consistent level on a sustained basis.
"We have worked hard to develop Brighter Futures as a welcoming and supportive environment; a place where standards matter and where our belief that everyone deserves more than one chance in life is played out."
Newcastle City Council housing services manager Neil Munslow added: "Everyone involved shares the aim of helping disadvantaged, unemployed people - giving them the chance to start a career they enjoy, increase their independence and improve their lives."