Empty homes scheme opens its doors to new skills

An innovative scheme to bring some of North Ormesby’s empty homes back into use, and improve the quality of rental accommodation, is also helping unemployed residents to learn new skills to help them return to work.

North Ormesby Empty Homes WEB

24 Jul 2017

Thirteen, in partnership with Middlesbrough Council and North Ormesby Community Land Trust, will deliver the £1million 'Empty Homes’ project, to unlock the potential of empty homes across North Ormesby, supporting the regeneration and sustainability of the area.

Three locally community based projects; Hartlepool NDC, Opening Doors, Community Campus and East Cleveland Youth Housing Trust won the tender to deliver the training element of this project, and they will give young people the chance to pick up new construction skills and qualifications as they work on the sites.

The project is part of the partnership’s ongoing commitment to return empty homes to use in North Ormesby and minimise the time homes stand empty. The scheme is currently renovating ten empty properties in the area, with more planned over the year.

People who are unemployed or struggling to gain skills in the construction industry have been offered places to train with mentors to refurbish the empty homes with the potential some of them to go on to be awarded an apprenticeship.

Work includes fitting doors, windows, new kitchens, central heating, roofing, bathrooms, wallpapering, painting and decorating.

A further nine properties are currently on site with another partner contractor HVE, carrying out refurbishment works.

Ian Wardle, chief executive at Thirteen, said: “At Thirteen we’re a caring landlord and developer but we’re about more than housing.

“We’re passionate about making a real difference to the communities such as North Ormesby, developing the right homes, creating a neighbourhood people really want to live in as well as offering opportunities into employment and training.”

Alan J Mackay, business development manager at North Ormesby’s Community Land Trust, said: “The Community Land Trust are excited that this collaborative venture is underway. With initial financial support from the North Ormesby Big Local project, we are steadily working to improve housing in North Ormesby as well as addressing some of the social issues in the Community.

“We are passionate about improving the area and working with private landlords to develop high standards in letting properties.”

Councillor Lewis Young, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Economic Development and Infrastructure, and ward councillor for North Ormesby, said: “The Empty Homes project emphasises our shared ambition to drive up private rented housing standards in North Ormesby, and bring empty properties back into use.

“But this initiative is much more than that. As well as creating much-needed quality housing, this project is providing opportunities for work and training to local people, with the aim of equipping them for future employment. I’m confident this will provide a blueprint for other areas.”