Scheme trains unemployed to build affordable housing

Bhakta Dhenga. Pic: Big Issue Invest

Bhakta Dhenga. Pic: Big Issue Invest

A scheme which trains construction workers is building affordable homes in Brockley.

The scheme, announced this month, gives work opportunities to homeless people, ex-offenders or those in long-term unemployment. They are trained in skills such as construction, plastering, carpentry, painting and decoration.

The programme is run by Phases (People Housing and Social Enterprise Scheme) based in Southwark, which is just one of the charities selected by Mayor Boris Johnson, for Big Issue Invest. The scheme , which aims to boost social enterprise and transform empty buildings into good quality, affordable homes to rent, won an investment of £10 million from the GLA Housing Covenant Fund.

Glenn Heaton, a Phases spokesperson, said the scheme will improve disadvantaged people’s chances of employment.

Bhakta Dhenga, an ex- Ghurka, who was previously living in hostel accommodation and searching for employment said: “Since I started training with PHASES I have learnt so many things. I felt proud to be offered a full-time job in construction.”

He added: “I had the chance to move out of the hostel and finally get my own place. I am slowly building myself back up again, but I know that if I need help, there are people I can turn to so I’m not alone. “

The funding hopes to result in over 300 empty homes being transformed into good quality low cost housing.

Boris Johnson has said of the scheme: “With the huge demand for housing it’s essential we get empty properties back into use… Big Issue Invest are masters of boosting community social enterprise and delivering key employment and training skills to the homeless and unemployed people who need our extra support.”

Big Issue Invest provides investments to social enterprise schemes to aid them in creating more job opportunities for disadvantaged people and tackling poverty.

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