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Posted 12 January 2017

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A new chair for our community work

James Main has been appointed the new chair of Ongo Communities.

This voluntary role, which is carried out in James’ spare time, sees him overseeing the community investment work of the local housing group.

James is well-known in Scunthorpe, having worked in the town for 28 years, 17 of which with Humberside Police. He brings a wealth of experience in local community work.

He heads up a board of five members who have varied skills and a shared commitment to improving peoples’ lives and communities in North Lincolnshire.

Ongo Communities, registered with the Charities Commission is the community investment arm of our group, dedicated to supporting local projects which make a lasting difference to people’s lives.

James welcomed the opportunity to lead the board. He takes over from Gill Shaw, who stepped down after four years as chair of Ongo Communities. Gill had also been a board member for Ongo Homes, our housing association, for more than three years.

He said: “I’ve been a board member for four years and in that time I have seen Ongo’s presence in the local community grow. Our vision is to create truly vibrant communities where people have aspirations and opportunities and I feel very privileged to be selected to chair such a committed board of community-spirited people. I have a true passion to help and support our younger generation to grow and develop as they are the future leaders of tomorrow.

“Ongo Communities has achieved a lot in the last two years and continues to have ambitious plans for the future – all of which benefit many people, young and old in North Lincolnshire.”

Current projects include employment support, life skills training, a community handyvan scheme providing opportunities for volunteers, a Choose to Reuse shop to recycle second hand furniture, and the Viking Road project in Barton providing a range of activities to support local families and breathe new life into the community centre.

Since April 2016, Ongo Communities has helped 574 people with intensive employment support and seen 210 people gain sustainable employment. Over 200 people have accessed training and 25 apprentices have been appointed. More than 400 people have accessed our Viking Centre and our Choose to Reuse shop has prevented 34 tonnes of unwanted items ending up in landfill sites.

Future plans include the creation of an Ongo Skills Academy, working with primary and secondary schools to increase aspirations and opportunities for young people; life coaching; tackling loneliness and isolation; supporting young carers and a gardening services project.

Ongo’s Director of Regeneration Pete Stones said: “The selection of James as our chair is great news for us as he brings not only a commitment to the people and communities of North Lincolnshire, shown through his track record of involvement with different organisations, but also a genuine desire to help and support local people. He is a great asset to Ongo.”

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