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Employment, education, skills and training

We aim to help people to develop their skills and access training and support in order to enter into, and sustain, employment. We are particularly interested in projects which help residents to access volunteering, build self confidence, gain skills or qualifications, and find work.

Case study: Helping Hands Gardening Programme - Ely


Voluntary and Community Action East Cambridgeshire

Project Aim

To provide gardening services using a team of volunteers who may experience barriers to employment or training, and to expand the programme to include clearance services.

The Helping Hands Gardening Programme, which received funding from Sanctuary and is managed by Voluntary and Community Action East Cambridgeshire (VCAEC), supports applicants in Ely with free training and valuable work experience that helps to make them more employable. This includes learning key skills needed to work in the gardening services industry, ranging from maintenance to clearing gardens and green spaces.

A volunteer at the Helping Hands Gardening Programme.

Results of the funding…

Alvin Feetham joined the Helping Hands project as a volunteer owing to his ongoing interest in gardening and he wanted to gain more experience. In addition to the gardening, the clearance work was also important to his role as the elderly people they support did not have anyone else to help them. Alvin has now been taken on as an employee of the project working 15 hours per week doing a job share with the project supervisor. He is also developing his own gardening business.


More volunteers at the Helping Hands project

Graham McCann started volunteering for Helping Hands when he was not able to work owing to his health. He still wanted a challenge rather than staying at home and so now volunteers three days per week on the gardening team. The jobs are never the same and can include grass cutting, weeding, painting or repairing fences.



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