Voluntary placement helps long-term unemployed family man into work

A family man from Radcliffe who had been unemployed for 15 years accessed voluntary work and a paid placement, which boosted his confidence and experience, and led him to secure a further contract helping those affected by the Boxing Day flooding.

Gary Evans, aged 43, has been a social housing tenant in Radcliffe for many years. 15 years of unemployment left him with low self esteem. For a long time, Gary wanted to help and be useful to the community even if he couldn’t find employment. Gary felt he had nothing to offer an employer and would never be lucky enough to get a full time job.

Following a tenancy visit by Six Town Housing, who manage housing stock on behalf of Bury Council, Gary’s Housing Officer referred him to their Steps to Success (S2S) employment programme. S2S supports people living in properties managed by Six Town Housing who have difficulty entering the workplace or progressing in their career.

At his initial S2S meeting Gary stated he wanted to volunteer in the area where he lives to keep himself busy and improve the look and feel of his community.

The programme offered him a voluntary opportunity in 2013, to help Six Town Housing’s caretakers and his local resident’s group plant bulbs around his estate and lay down decorative stone. Gary really enjoyed it and offered to help Six Town Housing with similar projects. He was later offered a 6 month paid work placement in 2015 within Six Town’s Caretaking Team through the programme.

When Gary’s contract came to an end he continued to work with the team voluntarily. Over Christmas, when the floods sadly devastated the area, he once again volunteered to help with the clean up, showing his commitment to his community and ability to utilise his practical skills.

Due to his new work experience and positive attitude, Gary has since been successful in securing a temporary contract working for Six Town Housing’s repairs team as a labourer in the areas affected by the floods.

Gary said, “I can’t thank Six Town Housing enough for the opportunities I have been given. It has been an amazing time and I am enjoying working with some great, helpful guys and playing my part to improve the neighbourhoods, making a difference and improving people’s lives.”

Maria Worthington, Business Manager for Neighbourhoods at Six Town Housing, said, “Gary is a real asset to his community and a positive role model, showing just what people can achieve when they gain confidence in their skills and ability. We’d encourage anyone living in a property managed by Six Town Housing who may be having difficulty entering employment to contact us to see if we can help them access opportunities or support.”

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