North Belfast is set to benefit from a new employment and housing works programme aimed at those who have been unemployed for more than 12 months and who are economically inactive.
Thanks to the North Belfast Employment Programme 60 jobs are set to be created and 700 households supported by this new energy efficiency and environmental scheme that could see homes benefitting from £500 of energy efficiency measures.
The North Belfast Employment Programme has received £2 million funding from the Social Investment Fund (SIF) under the NI Executive’s Delivering Social Change Framework. The jobs and housing works will be delivered by the Ashton Community Trust in partnership with Bryson FutureSkills.
The initiative will be delivered throughout the North Belfast SIF Zone with the initial improvement works concentrating on owner occupier and private rented households in the pilot areas of Ardoyne and Ballysillan. An area based approach has been agreed as the most effective way to target homes in North Belfast and provide the improvements. As part of the work two community gardens will also be built.
The North Belfast Employment Programme offers the opportunity to improve the physical environment in the areas of North Belfast eligible for SIF funding. It will also improve local knowledge of energy efficiency measures and help reduce the effects of fuel poverty.
A total of 60 temporary paid positions will be made available to the long term unemployed and will offer salaries in excess of £210 per week. The jobs will increase the skills levels of participants and offer the opportunity to achieve recognised qualifications in General Construction, Horticulture and Domestic Energy Assessment.
Welcoming this SIF support from the NI Executive, Chief Executive of Ashton Community Trust Paul Roberts said: “This funding will create jobs and in turn economic benefits for local people in North Belfast, and that’s important. Jobs improve quality of life and your mental health and can lead to all kinds of positive impacts.
“Job creation and investment historically in areas like Ballysillan and Ardoyne have been low and that’s why this programme of work is so welcomed. The housing improvement aspect to this work is equally welcome because we know that poverty and deprivation is a significant issue in North Belfast and across the city of Belfast. The latest 2017 figures show we have some way to go towards making sustainable positive changes in people’s lives. This scheme we hope will go some way towards addressing these issues and creating good news in the area.”