Latest news at CGA — articles for May 2019

Helping Our Tenants Back Into Employment!

Community Gateway is thrilled to have helped yet another tenant, Sarah Ayles, back into employment through their More Positive Together programme.

Sarah, who lives with her seven-year old daughter, told Community Gateway why she decided to turn to the initiative, More Positive Together, after being out of work for almost 10 years.

“I went to University and got a degree but after falling pregnant and becoming a single parent, I couldn’t afford to work.”

Sarah told us how whilst being out of work, her confidence began to deteriorate, as she felt she had a lot of barriers to overcome to get back into work, such as childcare support, transport, a gap in her CV and social isolation. Before she knew it, she didn’t know a way out.

“Deep down, I always wanted to be a veterinary nurse but never had the confidence to go for it, let alone know where to start. Then one day, I heard about the Community Gateway programme that helps people back into employment. I contacted them and have never looked back.” 

After several one to one meetings with her CG mentor, Ve Bennett, the two of them explored how Sarah could overcome her barriers and put steps in place to boost her confidence and social skills.

Sarah began attending the CG ‘Feel Good Friday’, CG Job Club, and enrolled onto a 10 week Confidence training course, which also allowed her to pass her 1st Aid Course whilst on the project.  

Sarah gushed about the confidence course and began searching for another opportunity with Ve – this time, to take another step towards her dream career of becoming a veterinary nurse. Fast forward and Sarah has just begun an Apprenticeship at a pet healthcare practice and is looking forward to the future.

Sarah added:

“Thank you to Community Gateway and the team on the More Positive Together programme; you’ve truly changed my life.”

North West Air Ambulance

Today Community Gateway proudly presented a cheque for £7,991.63 to North West Air Ambulance (NWAA) to help support the service, which is funded through the generosity of the public’s donations.

Colleagues at Community Gateway get to vote for the charity they’d like to pledge their support to, and this year, decided that NWAA would be the charity of choice, as they reach, treat and transfer patients via helicopter all over the North West.  

Throughout the year, we’ve taken part in a number of exciting activities to raise money for this great cause – here’s just some of the amazing activities that have taken place:

-          Pretty Muddy obstacle course

-          The Great North run

-          Chester Marathon

-          Scaling the ‘Big One’ at Blackpool

-          Bake sales

-          Raffles

-          World Cup Event

-          Ongoing Tuck Shop

Thank you to everyone who has been involved and supported us throughout – your donations, time and effort (not matter how big or small!) has gone towards making a huge difference to people’s lives.

Statement regarding Savick Shops Development

Louise Mattinson, Executive Director of Customers and Communities, says,

“In 2017, in response to feedback from the community, Community Gateway began regenerating the area around Savick shops.  The first phase included the development of 6 new homes on the site of the former Savick pub. 

Phase 2 of the scheme includes the redevelopment of the maisonettes and shops on West Park Avenue.  These properties are outdated, unsightly and are a magnet for anti-social behaviour, resulting in half of the shops being emptywith no new businesses interested in taking up a lease.  

However we listened to the community’s concerns around the impact to residents regarding the loss of the library and shops, and so we worked with local residents, councillors and remaining business owners to develop plans which included a commitment from Community Gateway to build a brand new library and 4 shop units to accommodate the remaining businesses. 

We agreed that we would provide the new units at below market rents to ensure the viability of the businesses for the benefit of the community.

Initially, all the business owners were supportive of these plans, which would have included the provision of high-quality, fully serviced temporary accommodation to allow the businesses to continue to operate whilst the demolition and building works were completed. This would have requiredsignificant investment from Community Gateway, but we believed that the cost was worth it to enable the businesses to continue trading. 

Disappointingly a number of the business owners have since changed their minds, and we now have only one business owner who has confirmed that they would like to enter into a new lease.  Sadly, this means that it is no longer viable for us to continue with our plans to invest in the building of a number of new shops when there is no evidence to suggest that they could be let. 

Whilst we understand the café owners would like to enter into a lease on a new unit, the provision of temporary accommodation is only feasible if a majority of business owners are in agreement.  

It was always our intention to replace the library and shop units and we share the community’s disappointment that there is insufficient interest from business owners to make this possible. However we can confirm that we are continuing with our plans to provide a new purpose built library which will benefit the community for many years to come.”