A recent successful project funded by Great Aycliffe and Middridge Partnership (GAMP) and delivered by the Pioneering Care Partnership (PCP) has helped residents of Newton Aycliffe with long-term health conditions get back into work, volunteering or training.
The Work for Health programme aimed to support 35 local unemployed residents by offering confidence building, social and team work skills, holistic health interventions as well practical support with careers advice, CV’s and job search skills.
This was done through one to one support sessions, group training sessions over a ten week period and a drop in session at Newton Aycliffe library to assist with digital and IT skills. Workshops covering relaxation, debt and careers advice were also delivered.
Overall, 58 participants were referred to the programme with health conditions ranging from severe depression, heart problems, and sensory impairment to alcoholism.
Over the course of the programme, which ran from May 2014 to March 2015, six people were supported back into paid employment with another 11 into voluntary work and 18 into further training.
Christine Kay, employability support assistant for PCP, said: “Having spent several years out of work due to ill health, I know how low your self-confidence can fall.
“I found my way back to paid work through volunteering so am passionate about supporting other people back to work by encouraging them to volunteer and find their own self-belief again.
“Being a part of Work for Health was certainly satisfying and rewarding.”
Christine Lynch (pictured above) has been supported by the project and is currently two months into her volunteer role with Love Thy Cup Cake in Newton Aycliffe town centre.
She said: “I really enjoy my role here, I am learning new skills, meeting new people and feel more confident. I am even thinking about training courses that will help me progress in my role.”
GAMP is one of 14 Area Action Partnerships set up by Durham County Council in 2009.