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Challenging poverty by providing free training to 1,000 people in two years

Challenge Poverty Week blog by John Murray, Community Works Manager, Port of Leith Housing Association.

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Yes, that’s right 1,000 people in two years. That’s almost 10 people a week. How did a Leith-based, medium sized, social landlord achieve this? Port of Leith Housing Association has always taken its ambition to go beyond providing affordable homes very seriously. We also want to support and empower people and communities in other ways, and we have a long track record of doing so through employability programmes.

Back in 2017, we decided to shake things up with the launch of a new employability service with a difference. Unlike the majority of other services, Community Works is open to everyone. If you are over 16 and live in Leith or North Edinburgh, then Community Works is there to help. Many of the individuals we help are unemployed, but, equally, as many of them are underemployed or are seeking to take the next step in their working life.

Community Works has been so successful owing to its freedom from the eligibility criteria which is attached to so many other programmes. 

In a little over two years, Community Works has delivered some impressive achievements:

  • Six-hundred and sixty-two local residents have been supported
  • Seventy-four per cent of customers have had positive outcomes, including nearly 100 of them moving into full-time employment
  • More than 1,000 customers have received formal training, with many customers receiving multiple training accreditations.

Community Works has been a true success story and one which proves that, if an organisation genuinely puts the needs of local people at the heart of its service delivery, great results will follow for those people. That’s something for all of us to remember this Challenge Poverty Week.