Hailsham’s unemployed residents and those claiming Employment Support Allowance (ESA) now have a big new training centre at Training Now! on the Station Road Industrial Estate – part of the Now! Charity Group.
The centre was opened by the Queen’s representative, The Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Peter Field, on January 12.
Free workshops and courses offer local people the opportunity to build their confidence, make friends, develop skills and gain qualifications. Workshop topics may include IT, gardening, cooking, painting and jewellery making.
The course topics cover basic Maths and English, understanding depression, preparing for an interview and more.
The Now! charity group name has recently been launched as part of a rebrand of the well-established Furniture Now! charity. The new Now! Ccarity includes both Furniture Now! and Training Now! Petrina Mayson, CEO of this multi-award winning charity, describes the charity’s purpose as ‘making positive changes to people’s lives in East Sussex via supportive free training and apprenticeships and access to affordable furniture and household goods’.
The charity has had a training centre in Eastbourne since 2013 and is delighted to offer Hailsham residents this bespoke facility.
This is the charity’s response to a report in December 2015 identifying that two wards in the town now fall into the most deprived 20 per cent in England.
Petrina described one recent success story for Training Now! “We run a project helping local residents on sickness benefit - which blew all the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) targets out of the water! We assessed 196 people, provided 303 workshops and awarded 936 course certificates. “It is brilliant news that 20 participants have gone into volunteering positions, 10 into education and five into employment.”
The DWP recently asked Now! Charity to run the same programme in 2016.
One volunteer at Training Now! , Jason, commented on how his self-esteem built up again as a result of the project. The support of the ‘friendly, close-knit family feel’ of the organisation has led to him volunteering and even getting part-time paid work as a gardener.
Petrina and her team are helping over 35,000 people in East Sussex each year. There are some shocking poverty statistics in the area, including the fact that 5,000 children in Eastbourne alone go to bed hungry each night.
The Hailsham Training Centre project was made possible due to the introduction to the Catherine Cookson Trust by Claire Baker from the Chalvington Group (which has Now! Ccarity as their charity of the year for the second year in 2016). The Trust awarded £25k towards the capital build costs and East Sussex County Council and Santander also provided some funds.
The 21st birthday rebrand project and the new Hailsham Centre could only happen due to the support of a huge number of local companies.
Petrina said, “We are enormously grateful for the incredible amount of donated time and products at reduced prices that local businesses have given us. Our very own DIY SOS created this centre in just four weeks. This is thanks to a small army of volunteers including our own staff, friends, relatives and people like Glen, a local Hailsham resident, who helped decorate the centre while he looks for work.”
You can help the charity with donations of time, home or office furniture, household goods, financial support and organising your own or attending their various fundraising events.
The Furniture Now! stores in Eastbourne, Lewes and Hailsham are open to everyone.
They provide low cost, new, refurbished and second hand home and office furniture, washing machines and lots more household goods. A real Aladdin’s cave to explore. Find out more at www.nowcharity.org.uk