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Housing Refurbishment programme

Groundwork is delivering the Housing Refurbishment programme with support from Rochdale Borough Council Strategic Housing, Department for Communities and Local Government and Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH). The plan for the initial 3 year programme was for 15 void properties to be brought back into use on the affordable rental market in Rochdale.
“This is a great example of partnership working which not only brings empty properties back into use but also provides valuable training opportunities for young people across the Borough. I’m delighted that this innovative project is increasing the availability of high-quality affordable homes in the local area.”
Andrew Toft, RBH Director of Services for Neighbourhoods

It’s not just bricks and mortarAt the heart of the programme are the people who deliver the refurbishments. We saw this as a great opportunity for local unemployed young people to develop their trade skills and get real hands-on work experience. Alongside the work experience we offer a package of training and support that includes health and safety training, CSCS card, employability support and links to other training and job opportunities.

The trainees work in small groups of up to five individuals per property, encouraged and supported by our own construction training assessors and supervisors. All trainees develop skills in prepping, plastering, painting, tiling, joinery and kitchen fitting.  We have recently developed our training offer and are now able to offer a Multi-Trades Traineeship to complement the work experience gained on-site.

Win win win scenarioThe Housing Refurbishment programme has many benefits for individuals, communities and partners. Unemployed young people benefit by improving their CV, getting the chance to develop their skills and progressing their career. The local community benefits by getting a derelict, unused and often unsightly building transformed into a liveable home. The local council benefits by having an extra property available on the affordable rental market.

So far 15 properties have been refurbished in Rochdale and over 60 local unemployed young people have taken part in the scheme. Many have progressed into work or further training as a direct result of the skills and experience gained on the programme.

“This housing refurbishment has improved my knowledge of building trades and polished up my skills. I’ve done a lot of the work including all the tiling throughout the house. It’s been an enjoyable time and hopefully useful experience for my career.” John Marsland, aged 23 and from Castleton (one of the trainees who has taken part in the scheme)

“This is an exciting and interesting initiative that will not only give on the job training to young tradesmen but also bring family homes back into use, which at this particularly difficult time for many families in Britain cannot be a bad thing.” Councillor Sultan Ali, Rochdale Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Strategic Housing