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North East housing providers awarded £2.05m to deliver employability support

Friday 15 March 2024


An employability project led by social housing provider Thirteen, has been awarded £2.05m of funding by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund with Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) as the lead authority.

As the lead partner for the Housing Employment Network North East (HENNE), Thirteen secured the funding with HENNE partners Beyond Housing, Karbon, Home Group and NorthStar forming an integral part of the project delivery. The contract, scheduled to conclude in March 2025, will enable the partnership to implement targeted initiatives and interventions to empower people who are not currently working but would like to return to work, including those facing health barriers to gaining employment and facilitate their transition into sustainable employment in the Tees Valley area.

40% of social housing tenants in the North East are economically inactive, compared to approximately 20% in other tenures, and this project seeks to address their barriers to employment and economic inclusion. HENNE’s proactive approach provides tailored support and opportunities for individuals across communities learn new skills and re-enter the workforce.

The project forms part of the wider Tees Valley Move Forward UK Shared Prosperity Fund employability programme, it will take individuals on an action-focused tailored journey, understanding and addressing barriers that are preventing them from being economically active. It provides one-to-one holistic support, focusing on the person and their needs. New Start also forms part of the project, which creates tailored opportunities for candidates to get a foot through with the support of local businesses. Wraparound one-to-one support is provided throughout the placement from employment advisors and the chance to undertake qualifications.

Steve McKinlay, chair of HENNE’s board, expressed his enthusiasm for the transformative potential of this funding: “This substantial investment from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund represents a significant milestone for HENNE and highlights our unwavering commitment to empower individuals and strengthen communities across the North East.

“We collectively developed our model, rooted in social housing, which builds upon our current infrastructure and our extensive experience of working with this specific cohort. This funding will help to accelerate our efforts to support people who are not currently working but would like to return to work, including those facing health barriers to gaining employment, unlock their potential and create pathways to meaningful employment.”

HENNE is a regional collaborative initiative between 12 North East social housing providers. This significant funding will support the partnerships aim to bolster economic participation amongst economically inactive individuals residing in social housing across the North East. Research has highlighted that the number of barriers to gaining employment can be greater for people living in social housing. Through collaboration, partnership and development of practical solutions, HENNE has an unrivalled ability to reach and successfully work with a range of individuals, households and communities.