Hundreds helped into jobs and training

Published: 13 July 2016

Council-led initiatives are supporting residents in some of the borough's most deprived areas

HUNDREDS of Wandsworth residents have been helped into employment or training in the past year, as part of the council’s Aspirations programme.

An update report to the council’s Executive committee on 11 July has revealed how several schemes are helping to improve life chances in deprived areas of the borough, while work is also under way to build new affordable housing for below market rent and home ownership.

The council’s Aspirations programme began in 2012, focusing on Latchmere ward, in Battersea, and Roehampton and Putney Heath ward, with targeted initiatives and a commitment to provide better housing.

Housing into Work, a pilot scheme, has helped 26 people find employment or training with the incentive of being prioritised for housing, and in the coming year the initiative is being expanded to target 200 people. 

The council’s Work Match service has placed 196 residents with employers in the past year, and is being based on the Alton estate, in Roehampton and Putney Heath ward, and on the Winstanley and York Road estates, in Latchmere ward, which are being regenerated. This is to help ensure that alongside the provision of new homes of all tenures there are on-site apprenticeships, jobs in construction, painting, decorating, site office administration and more for local people.   

The Battersea Mentoring Project, run by local charity S.T.O.R.M., began as a two-year, council-funded project to mentor 40 young men from the Winstanley and York Road estates aged 18-24 from black and ethnic minority backgrounds who were not in education, employment or training. Since then it has helped 55 people, with 34 now in employment of training, and S.T.O.R.M. has secured external funding for a further three years.

Regenerate, a charity based on the Alton estate, has been awarded a contract to help children and young people aged 13 to 30 in the area with skills, training and volunteering. The Street Elite project, delivered by the Change Foundation, Berkeley Foundation and Argos, uses sport and mentoring to work intensively with young people at risk of gang involvement in Roehampton, and with 26 getting a job or work-related training in the past year.

Cllr Ravi Govindia, Leader of the council, said: “The Aspirations programme is making sure that residents can make the most of opportunity, whether in employment, training, sports, or a new home. With so much change going on around them in Wandsworth, it’s only right that the council and partners help local people to seize the initiative and improve their life chances.”

With Sport England funding, Enable Leisure and Culture are delivering the Witness Da Fitness programme for the council at the Winstanley and York Road estates, featuring sessions of boxing, female multisports, football, disability football, basketball and bootcamp, for 239 young people so far. 

Three hundred new homes for below market are to be built by the council within the next five years, on 21 council-owned sites, with four in Latchmere ward. Across the borough, nine of them have planning permission, to build a total of 86 homes, and are due to start on site later this year. Studies are under way at a further eight sites, to provide 140 homes, with planning permission sought within the coming months.

As of May this year, 353 families have been referred to the council’s Family Recovery Project, with most not going on to re-offend. The Government's Troubled Families programme has seen 227 having had their lives turned around in the borough in the past year, with a further 2,370 families to be supported in the borough in the years to come.

You can read the full report here: