A project to make a positive difference to community facilities and give Chester residents a route back into work is proving a big success.
With funding from Cheshire West and Chester Council, Avenue Services is offering a series of nine-month employment opportunities to people from Blacon and Lache.
Working in the grounds maintenance team and the caretaking and cleaning team, the employees gain practical skills and receive training and mentoring from experienced staff.
Eight people have been employed under the scheme to date, with three of those going on to secure permanent positions with Avenue Services.
Paul Knight, Head of Avenue Services, said: “The job market is competitive, and by providing local long-term unemployed residents with work and training opportunities we are giving them the skills to succeed and secure future full-time roles.
“The project is helping us deliver the best possible service to our communities while enhancing the employment prospects of the individuals involved and we are delighted that it has already led to three permanent appointments.”
One local resident to find permanent employment through the scheme is Karen Ramsey, who is now a valued member of the Avenue Services cleaning and caretaking team.
Karen commented: “I really enjoy my job and have been made to feel so welcome since the very first moment I started.
“I have learned new skills and gained qualifications and I’m grateful for all the opportunities the scheme has made available to me.”
Funding for the initiative is being delivered through Section 106, where private developers have had to donate money to improve the local community.
Sixteen opportunities will be offered in total over a four-year period, with three people from Blacon and one from Lache being employed at any one time.
Cllr Louise Gittins, cabinet member for communities and wellbeing at Cheshire West and Chester Council, added: “Avenue Services provides a number of valuable services to residents in Blacon and the council has a track record of supporting ventures such as this.
“These employment opportunities will have a range of benefits for Blacon, with individuals gaining valuable employment skills and residents benefitting from the social, charitable and community based services provided by a committed workforce.”
Avenue Services, which is a not-for-profit organisation, is a joint venture between Sanctuary Group and Cheshire West and Chester Council.