Seven permanent jobs have been created by a new social enterprise scheme in Durham, with many more to follow.
Social Housing Enterprise Durham (SHED) has employed seven people who were previously all long-term unemployed. The individuals will now work as part of a team offering a range of home-improvement services such as gardening, internal and external decoration and small repairs.
SHED has also received £25,000 of funding from the North East Procurement Board, which will now go towards creating more jobs over the coming months.
Ian Brimer, NEP Chief Executive, said: “SHED is bringing local employment, delivering a local service, to and for local people.
“This project enhances community spirit and offers good value to the future sparks fund.
“This is considered a model project with potential for duplication by NEP members across the region. NEP and our Board wish them every success.”
The new employees will also receive training while they work, and will work towards a NVQ Level 2 qualification in Business Improvement Technique.
Project Manager Phillip Curran, of Derwentside Homes, said the scheme had also had a positive impact on their confidence.
He said: “The majority of the people involved with SHED had been out of work for over a year before they joined.
“They’ve all found that the skills they have learnt and the training they’ve received has made them much more confident.
“The scheme is having a really positive impact on people’s lives and hopefully, if demand for the work continues, we can employ more people in future and even take on some apprentices.”
The new scheme will be piloted in Consett for the next two years, and after that it is hoped that similar projects will be rolled out across Derwentside.