Charter helps Pat change his life !
Charter tenant Pat Douse talks about the huge impact that the housing association has had on his life during Wales’ first Employment and Skills Awareness Week (run 22-28 September).
Lead by a partnership between Community Housing Cymru, Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) and the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education Cymru (NIACE), housing associations across Wales have this week come together to demonstrate how serious they are about making a difference to their tenants lives by helping tenants across Wales gain valuable skills and experience, by creating learning and apprenticeship opportunities.
Charter Housing tenant Pat Douse is one such tenant who has a really positive story to share. Owing to poor health Pat had been recently forced to live on benefits and had subsequently found himself ‘digitally excluded’, as he was unable to afford a computer or pay to use public computer facilities. This was until Pat became a regular at the ‘Community Flat’, a free, multi-functional local community space for residents of Barrackswood estate in Newport that was established 10 years ago by Charter, as a hub for tackling digital inclusion on the estate.
Pat said ‘The Community Flat has been my lifeline for searching for employment and completing many on-line application , all whilst getting to know residents and staff, which was a real bonus I did not expect!
My life had become very insular and my self-confidence and ability to deal with social situations had suffered greatly. Charter has helped me improve all areas of my life and the icing on the cake was hearing via email that my recent application for employment was successful – I actually opened the email at their Community Flat!
I have also started work on a voluntary basis with 2 local services as a direct result of attending the Community Flat and have enrolled on an Open University course’.
Stephen Dixon, Charter Digital Inclusions Officers said ‘Employment and Skills week is a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate that as well as providing affordable homes, the social housing sector in Wales is leading the learning, championing equality and helping tenants out of poverty.
We are delighted to have been able to contribute to the remarkable turnaround of Pat’s life, enabling him to enrol in a college course, gain employment and make friends. We wish him all the very best in his new career and voluntary work, we are sure he will be fantastic!’.
Digital exclusion is often a barrier to entry into work and, according to the Welsh Government, 46% of social housing tenants are currently digitally excluded.