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We Work!

PlaceShapers are building on a commitment to help even more people into work. Since 2010, PlaceShaper housing associations have helped more than 60,000 people find work, saving public money on welfare benefits and health services, and helps communities thrive.

These are featured in We Work, 15 powerful stories of how lives have been transformed. One of the latest examples is that  thanks to the support and advice of Cross Keys Homes, Emma Bristow has started up a innovative business.

Emma explains: “I had sent my CV to many companies and applied for so many jobs but all to no avail. I couldn’t find work that would fit around my daughter and family life. I need flexible hours that allow me to be there for my daughter. She has swimming, dance classes, Brownies – all the usual stuff that you have to juggle around a job. And so I decided to do some training, to get more skills that would widen the career opportunities available to me.

“With the help of Cross Keys Homes I have been able to access a whole wealth of training opportunities. I started with Learn My Way – a fab way to get more IT skills, like word processing and using the internet properly.

“During the training I started to think about the idea of starting my own business, but I never thought I would be able to. It was only after I completed the Positive Steps confidence building course that I realised it was a very real option for me – I could do it!”

Now, with her new found confidence and the practical skills she needed, Emma has launched Lie Detector Parties. Emma takes lie detector equipment to parties like stag and hen dos – “it’s like spin the bottle with a twist!” explains Emma, “it’s all very light hearted entertainment. I don’t let anything get too serious!

“Running the parties allows me to work around my daughter, and although I have only been going for a few months it is really starting to take off. The computer skills I learnt have enabled me to create my own website and Facebook page, as well as keep my accounts and deal with all the administration of running a business.”

Cross Keys Homes offer a wide range of free courses to people looking to gain new skills to get into employment, and the housing association works with partner organisations across the region to open the opportunities wider.

Service Manager - Residents and Community Investment at CKH - Steve Dumbrell explains: “We work with people with a wide spectrum of training and support needs. From young people looking to get into employment for the first time, to people who have recently found themselves unemployed for the first time and need to retrain. We can support the long term unemployed to get the right skills that employers are looking for, as well as supporting parents like Emma who are looking to get back to work after starting a family and want flexibility in their work.

“We have found that confidence building courses are the most important place to start for the long term unemployed. Just getting people out of the house, into a routine of attending a course and letting them know they are capable of doing so much more than they think they can, makes a huge difference to people. Once they have the confidence and faith in their own abilities we can give them the practical skills they need to flourish – and Emma is a great example of what can be achieved with the right training and skills.”

Emma agrees that the Positive Steps course was a key step for her. “Without that confidence building and the support from the CKH training advisors I would never have had the strength to carry on and embark upon this exciting venture. I am now so excited about the future and I can’t thank CKH enough. Not only do they provide me with the most wonderful place to live, but they have also opened the door to this life changing opportunity for me!”

Cross keys April 17 case study crop

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