Grant saves Community House

General View of Community House in Sothwell Rd Wisbech ANL-140929-085600009

General View of Community House in Sothwell Rd Wisbech ANL-140929-085600009

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A “vital” project which helps residents overcome barriers to skills, training and employment has been saved from possible closure thanks to a £48,000 grant.

The future of Community House in Wisbech has been secured for another 12 months after Fenland Council received funding from the government’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to run the facility until April, 2017.

A question mark had been hanging over the Southwell Road’s centre for 18 months after the DWP warned it may not be able to continue funding the programme.

And in January, Community House was identified during the council’s spending review as one of the services likely to be cut if continued external funding could not be found.

Now the DWP has agreed to award the service the same amount as it did last year, a total of £48,410, which will once again be directed at helping people on work-related benefits develop the skills and confidence they need to find work.

The council’s bid to the DWP had been supported by the Wisbech Job Centre, which said it found the service provided at Community House was an important way of meeting an identified customer need.

A total of 117 people took part in last year’s pilot project, which included a direct referral service from the Job Centre to the house and a programme of community-based activities designed to improve their chances of employment.

Twenty people found jobs through it, 75 were helped to access training and 47 found volunteering opportunities.

Councillor Mike Cornwell, the council’s cabinet member responsible for communities, said: “We’re delighted DWP has recognised the value of the pilot project and that we can now continue this service, which offers vital support to many of the people who are in most need.

“I would urge residents who are interested in the service to get in touch to benefit from the opportunity.”

Coun Cornwell said the council would be continuing to seek further, longer-term funding for the service.

Anyone interested in accessing the service can call Wisbech Job Centre on 0345 6043719, Community House on 01945 580309 or email: communityhouse@fenland.gov.uk