|29th January 2013|
Empowering The Local Community
A community based project in Scunthorpe is helping ex-offenders to rebuild their lives by learning new skills after receiving funding from Tata Steel subsidiary UK Steel Enterprise.
The Empower Project, which is run by the Crosby Employment Bureau (CEB) and is also funded by Job Centre Plus, works in partnership with the National Probation Trust and Safer Neighbourhoods. The aim of the project is to support ex offenders back into employment and look at all the barriers which are stopping them finding jobs.
CEB wanted to set up a bicycle hospital, where ex-offenders strip down and rebuild bikes in need of repair that have been donated by the local Police. The project needed vital tools and equipment to get underway, which is why it applied to UK Steel Enterprise’s Community Fund for support. A donation of £300 from the Fund meant that the project could get underway, helping ex-offenders to learn new skills that could lead to employment and personal development.
Project Coordinator, Hayley Cullen says the impact the funding has had is massive. “Simply put, if we did not have the money from UK Steel Enterprise we could not have started the project and the people we are helping would be stuck. We are now working with other organisations to find ways of generating income so we are not dependant on anyone. We are grateful to North Lincolnshire Council as its Road Safety Team is road testing the repaired bikes for free so we can then sell them on and generate funds. We are looking forward to being able to making a real difference to the lives of people we are working with thanks to the help from UK Steel.”
UK Steel Enterprise’s Regional Executive, Allan Wood says that the project hits several objectives for its Community Fund; “With support from others this project has the potential to make a difference on so many levels. People are learning new and key skills that could transform their lives, old bikes are being reused and not scrapped and opportunities for others to keep fit are being created. We are really pleased to be able to help this project get off the ground.”
Paul White (39) from Westcliff has been using Crosby Employment Bureau for six weeks and working on the bike project for the last four after being referred there by the probation service. He says that the scheme has already made a difference to his life; "It has given me structure and stops me sitting at home doing nothing. I'm learning new skills and changing for the better. I'd love to be doing this all the time and if we can get more bikes donated we may have enough to turn it into a full-time project. If we can generate some income I could end up with a part-time or even full time job at another place. The Bureau is the only place that has really offered me a future."
The Empower Project is also getting support from Rusty’s Bike shop in Ashby with a discount rate on all the products purchased to restore the bikes, along with advertising a request for old bikes to be donated. The project operates from the Bureau’s headquarters in Laneham Street, Scunthorpe and runs on Wednesdays. 10 bikes have already been fully repaired and are now available for the project workers to hire when they are looking for work or training opportunities.