More than £2 million secured to deliver life changing employment support in the Tees Valley

Hundreds of people who are out of work in the Tees Valley can benefit from a new employment support service thanks to more than £2m of funding via the Government's UK Shared Prosperity Fund with the Tees Valley Combined Authority as the lead authority.

A group of partners from Thirteen, Beyond Housing and Karbon Homes on the quayside with the transporter bridge in the background. They are holding two signs, one that says in partnership with the housing employment network north east and the other with th

28 Mar 2024

The funding will provide life changing support to people in the Tees Valley so that they can reach their full potential in life.

We've been successful in winning the funding as part of a bid we submitted on behalf of the Housing Employment Network North East (HENNE). We’ll work alongside our partners Beyond Housing, Karbon Homes, Home Group and North Star, to deliver the Tees Valley Move Forward programme.

Tees Valley Move Forward will take people who are not currently working, including those with health conditions that may prevent them from being able to work, on a journey of personal growth and self-improvement. Through the programme they will receive personalised support which might include:

  • building confidence and self-esteem
  • addressing any barriers preventing them meeting their personal goals
  • help in accessing community groups
  • maximising financial support they are entitled to
  • help with looking for jobs, work experience, and training

We currently deliver a free employability service for our customers and the wider public across the Tees Valley. Last year, our team helped more than 1,100 people. This included supporting those who are not in employment, education, or training (NEET), as well as anyone looking for a new job or change in career.

Tees Valley Move Forward will extend the offer of these services to people who may have previously felt it was impossible to progress in life due to their circumstances.

40% of social housing tenants in the North East are economically inactive, compared to approximately 20% in other tenures, and this project seeks to address their barriers to employment and economic inclusion. HENNE's proactive approach provides tailored support and opportunities for individuals across communities learn new skills and re-enter the workforce.

Matt Forrest, chief executive officer of Thirteen: “We’re delighted to have led the first successful funding bid on behalf of HENNE. We’ve heard how housing association tenants are more likely to be economically inactive, and as a housing partnership we’re well placed to help these people. We have a strong track record of providing employability support and we’re excited by the opportunity to make a big difference to the lives of hundreds more people by delivering the Move Forward programme.”

Steve McKinlay, chair of HENNE’s board, said: “This substantial investment from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund represents a significant milestone for HENNE and highlights our unwavering commitment to empower individuals and strengthen communities across the North East.

“We collectively developed our model, rooted in social housing, which builds upon our current infrastructure and our extensive experience of working with this specific cohort. This funding will help to accelerate our efforts to support people who are not currently working but would like to return to work, including those facing health barriers to gaining employment, unlock their potential and create pathways to meaningful employment.”

The project forms part of the wider Tees Valley Move Forward UK Shared Prosperity Fund employability programme. New Start also forms part of the project, which creates tailored opportunities for candidates to get a foot through with the support of local businesses.  One-to-one support is provided throughout the placement from employment advisors and the chance to undertake qualifications.

HENNE is a regional collaborative initiative between 12 North East social housing providers. This significant funding will support the partnerships aim to bolster economic participation amongst economically inactive individuals residing in social housing across the North East. Research has highlighted that the number of barriers to gaining employment can be greater for people living in social housing. Through collaboration, partnership and development of practical solutions, HENNE has an unrivalled ability to reach and successfully work with a range of individuals, households and communities. 

You can find out more or sign up to the Move Forward program on our website