Headlines: March 15th, 2011

Coast & Country, one of largest the housing and regeneration companies in the North East, is working with Jobcentre Plus to help its tenants to find work.

Coast and Country have developed an innovative outreach programme that helps people move from long-term dependency on benefits into paid employment and at the same time saves taxpayer’s money. The company has set up three Working Communities Teams made up of its own specialist officers and experts from Jobcentre Plus.

From September 2010 to January 2011, the project has had a significant impact in jobless blackspots. During this time 707 individuals were referred for support and twelve percent found work, either full or part time. It is estimated that approximately £155,000 has been saved in benefits during this period, which will equate to nearly £372,000 for an entire year

The Working Communities Teams work at grass roots level to help people find work. They literally take their employment support service to people’s doors by arranging home visits during which individual tailored solutions will be identified to help residents find work or access training opportunities.

The teams interview and encourage people to apply for vacancies and write to prospective employers. They search both the advertised and unadvertised jobs market. They use text messaging to alert tenants about job opportunities and also arrange events where unemployed tenants can meet potential employers face to face.

Iain Sim, the Chief Executive said: “We now have valuable experience of getting harder to reach people into work – good lessons in advance of the Work Programme arrangements, making social landlords, who have a solid track record in enhancing community cohesion, well-placed to deliver initiatives to their tenants.”