£250,000 Northern Rock Foundation backing for ‘Ready for Work’
At lunch time today senior business leaders from across the region will join together to announce the launch of Business Action on Homelessness' first ‘Ready for Work’ programme in the North East.
Business Action on Homelessness (BAOH) is a business-led campaign owned by Business in the Community that supports homeless people to gain and sustain employment.
Run by The Cyrenians on behalf of Business Action on Homelessness, ‘Ready for Work’ is a further expansion to the ground-breaking schemes for which The Cyrenians is recognised. As the homeless organisation which is leading the way in employing service users the scheme also underlines The Cyrenians’ commitment to working with the private sector.
‘Ready for Work’ will run initially over three years and cover from Newcastle to Teesside supporting previously homeless people by providing pre-employment training, work placements and job coaching in conjunction with local businesses.
A grant of almost £250,000 from the Northern Rock Foundation will fund the bulk of the programme. Richard Walton of the Northern Rock Foundation explained:
"Northern Rock Foundation has a long history of supporting the valuable work of The Cyrenians. We see ‘Ready for Work’ as particularly exciting; it will have a life-changing impact on many people.
This grant is the largest we have made to date in our current programme; it’s scale reflects the importance with which we view this work.
" Furthermore and in our view, crucially, ‘Ready for Work’ presents the opportunity to encourage many other businesses in the North East to become involved too - with confidence that they are partnering funding and delivering organisations which will achieve real results and make a genuine and lasting difference. We see the grant as an important catalyst which will enable a much wider business involvement and contribution than might otherwise have been the case."
Ken McMeikan, Chief Executive of Greggs and BITC’s Prince’s Regional Ambassador for the North East added:
"I am delighted that we are able to launch ‘Ready for Work’ the first programme of this type in the North East. The tremendous financial backing of the Northern Rock Foundation and the well-deserved reputation for achieving results that The Cyrenians has will bring about positive changes in many people’s lives. There has never been a more critical time for business leaders to do more within their local communities; what we are setting out to do here is really special."
With Ken McMeikan at the launch were Paul Walker, Group Chief Executive, Sage and Prince’s Regional Ambassador for the North East 2009 and Lorna Moran, Trustee of the Northern Rock Foundation and Chief Executive of Northern Recruitment Group. Carillion, Royal Mail and M&S have also pledged their support for the programme.
Since 2001, over 500 companies have been involved and BAOH has supported 5,000 people through ‘Ready for Work’. Over this time almost 2,000 of the people taking part have found work as a result. Anne Willmot, Director of Business Action on Homelessness,
also present at the launch continued:
"Business Action on Homelessness’ impressive track record makes it the most effective national programme working with this client group. We are delighted to have been able to expand the reach of the Business Action on Homelessness campaign into the North East and to be working with The Cyrenians which is recognised nationally as a leading agency with enormous expertise in helping homeless people prepare for the world of work.
"This programme becomes our 23rd nationally. We are very grateful to the Northern Rock Foundation and all the organisations which have committed to becoming involved to help achieve our goal of supporting more homeless people to gain and sustain employment."
Speaking at the launch was Barry Trainor who over the last three years has succeeded in turning his life around with help and support from The Cyrenians. Barry explained:
"Many people, through no fault of their own, don’t get the best breaks in life. It’s not an excuse, it’s a fact. That doesn’t mean that they can’t get themselves back on track and make a valuable contribution to society.
"It does mean that often it takes real courage from other people who have it in their power to take a chance on someone, to look past the stigma and see someone for their real potential. I’ve had some great breaks in recent years and I’ve grabbed every chance I’ve seen with both hands. I really hope that this scheme helps lots of others to do the same."