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Huge award win for the life-changing work of ‘yes’

December 07 2020 | Articles | News

After helping hundreds of people in some of the country’s most deprived communities to find work, Northwards Housing and ‘yes’ have won a top prize at the UK Housing Awards.

Run by industry magazine Inside Housing, the awards shine a spotlight on the exceptional work going on across the country’s housing sector - from tackling homelessness to pioneering new technology.

Northwards won the ‘Resident employment and training award (<15,000 homes)’ for the success of yes. Originally established by Northwards and Manchester City Council in 2013, yes (Your Employment Service) is a community interest company that helps north Manchester residents find jobs, launch businesses and take advantage of training opportunities. The social enterprise was created as a subsidiary of Northwards to encourage, inspire and equip local people and help minimise the impact of welfare reform on our tenants.

The challenges

The yes team help people in some of the most challenging areas of Manchester. In the 2019 Index of Multiple Deprivation results, over 13% of the homes Northwards manages are within the bottom 1% most deprived areas nationally. Over 66% of our homes fall within the bottom 10%.

Despite these challenges, yes has achieved some amazing results. Over the last seven years, yes has grown to run three centres in Newton Heath, Higher Blackley and Collyhurst. In 2018/19, they supported 235 people into employment, training or volunteering, 20% of whom had been out of work for over two years. The three centres had nearly 20,000 visits between them with over 1,100 new clients registering. Using the HACT social value calculator, for every £1 spent, yes generated £38 in social value.

Life-changing initiatives

The last two years in particular have seen yes spearhead some life-changing initiatives. Working alongside partners like Prosper Associates and UnLtd, yes has helped local start-up businesses get off the ground by running bespoke courses and a small grants programme.

Such examples include Althea, Kathy and Stuart – you can watch each of them explain how yes helped them launch their own companies below:

And by partnering with Procure Plus, yes and Northwards have created a construction training academy in Collyhurst, right in the heart of the proposed Northern Gateway area. With funding from the Department for Education, ‘The Cube’ supports those furthest away from employment into opportunities created within Manchester’s booming construction industry. 

Into the future

Despite the pandemic, yes continues to help clients with dedicated support, offering one-to-one appointments in person or over the phone. More and more opportunities are publicised through yesmanchester.co.uk. The Cube continues to produce qualified students landing jobs with local employers. And preparations are being made for another start-up business course, launching in January 2021.

Sheila Sturgeon, CEO of yes said: “The pandemic means that the need for yes to support individuals and communities is greater than ever.

“Whenever there is a recession of any description, the people who are hurt the most are the people that haven’t been able to get the agility to switch careers at the flick of a switch, that need to update their skills.

yes will be at the centre of helping our communities cope with, and recover from, the difficulties we’re going to face.”

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