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Posted 03 March 2021

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Hundreds given employment support

Over the course of the pandemic our Employment Support team has continued to help and encourage thousands of local people into work.

From March 2020 the team has signed up and supported 542 people through various services and projects, including Sparc, Kick-Start and Next Level Project.

Each of our projects have been designed to help local people achieve their employment, confidence and life goals such as the Sparc Enterprise project that can help set up your own business and be your own boss.

Here are just some examples:

Hayley Cullen, Operational Manager at Ongo Communities said, “It has been incredibly challenging to continue with the huge range of support we provide, amidst a pandemic, but I am really proud of every single team member for rising up to the challenge and being so dedicated.

“The way in which we deliver our services has changed and we’ve had to adapt to conducting video call appointments, online chats and socially distanced appointments when allowed.

“Regardless of these challenges, we have been able to sign up 542 people, 123 of which have gained employment and a further 94 have completed training that will boost their employment opportunities.

“Thank-you to all our clients who have continued to support us and allow us to help them. We can’t wait to see you all again in person”

Naz Nazir, an ex-offender that we supported said “Not many people have the time or consideration. We leave prison and we don’t know where to turn or how society might judge us and that makes it difficult for us to get back into something that feels like normal life.

“Thank-you for the opportunities that BBO has given to me. I have been offered a job, I haven’t felt judged and I now know that I have a chance to make my life good when I get home.”

To find out more, or if you know a tenant that could benefit then get in touch with the team and take a look below at some of success stories.

Next level project

Our Next Level project aims to help those who have successfully found employment to further develop their skills, so that they can progress and build a long term career and is part funded by the European Social Fund (ESF).

Amanda Barker, Next Level Manager recalls an amazing success story. She said, “I first spoke to Gemma Donnelly in July 2020, she wanted to be self-employed as a domestic cleaner and needed to get some qualifications relevant to cleaning.

“After working with me she decided to take the plunge and go for her Level 2 in Control and Prevention of Infection through Adult Skills as well as a Level 2 Cleaning course.

“Along with completing her courses, Gemma began to put together a Facebook page and designed some posters, which she distributed around the local community.

“Her enthusiasm and passion for starting her own business was immediately evident and she also received business support from Sparc, as with the team, Gemma developed an initial business plan, which included researching competitors, identifying overheads and looking into pricing in order to create a tangible and sustainable business model.

“Based on the strength of Gemma’s business plan, she was then referred to North Lincolnshire Council’s Business Team to apply for a new business start-up grant which was accepted.”

Gemma Donnelly said, “Ongo were fantastic and quick to respond to my questions. I received great support from Amanda Barker, who kindly supported me in upskilling myself ready for my new venture.

“My business is now up and running and I continue to receive support from Ongo in my self- employment journey.”

Gemma’s business is called ‘Sparkling G3ms’ be sure to check it out. Referrals for any of our projects can be made by anyone including walk-in appointments.

Mental health support

Our Looking-Up and Ongo Talk team provide mental health support. We receive funding from the Department of Working Pensions and the European Social Fund (ESF) to deliver this intensive service, which is provided by our dedicated small team of highly trained staff.

Fiona Wilkinson joined the Looking Up project in October 2020 having been referred by Job Centre Plus due to becoming unemployed after the family printing business fell on hard times.

As she worked in the family business and always lived at home supporting her elderly parents, she had no outside relationships and felt very self-conscious and stressed when meeting other people.

Upon learning this, Fiona was referred to coaching and after a one to one interview, she engaged in the coach walks, where she met with other members of a small group.

She was then offered help in exploring different careers paths where she expressed an interest in becoming a personal assistant (PA).

From here the team looked at the requirements and discussed training. That’s when Fiona was enrolled onto Dignity and Safeguarding Adults Level 2 and completed the first assessment with Adult Skills.

She was also helped in submitting an application for a Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS) as well as updating her CV, and sending this through to our recruitment team.

From this, Fiona has been contacted for a screening interview and has been put on the PA register awaiting a client match.

This is just one of many success stories, should you want help into employment click here or get in touch with the team on 01724 844848.

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