National housing award for Weymouth and Portland youth employment project

A youth employment project led by ethical housing developer and landlord Aster Group, has secured a top national housing industry award.

The b-roads project, a creative youth employment initiative which ran across Weymouth and Portland between 2013 and 2015, was recognised at the annual TPAS (Tenant Participation Advisory Service) Awards, which celebrates the achievements of individuals and organisations who have made a significant contribution to their communities.

The project won in the Excellence in Employment Skills and Training category at the awards, which took place on Thursday (14 July) at Chesford Grange Hotel in Warwickshire.

The project made the national shortlist after being named winner of the same category in the regional final for the South, which took place in February at the Hilton Hotel in Wembley, London.

The b-roads project engaged with and supported some of the most hard to reach young people in the region into work, education and training through creative activities, courses, mentoring and work placements. The project was commissioned by Aster and project-managed by Angela Gould, the company’s digital and partnership engagement manager. It was delivered in partnership with b-side multimedia, a member of the Dorset Arts Trust – a collaborative of Arts and Culture organisations. The project was also supported by the Real Ideas Organisation, which was also able to provide an initial £50,000 investment from Arts Council England.

b-roads proved to be highly successful, with 149 local young people taking part in the project – over 100 more than were originally expected to participate. Fifty-eight of those achieved Arts Award, Social Enterprise, Free Running or EU Youth Pass qualifications, while others were able access apprenticeships or internships, mentoring or work placement opportunities.

Sarah Durrans, Aster Group regional director for Dorset, said: “The b-roads project has been truly life-changing for the young people from Weymouth and Portland who participated. We are extremely proud to have helped them achieve nationally-recognised qualifications which will benefit them tremendously in the future.

“I’d like to add my congratulations to the project team who worked tirelessly to make b-roads a success. This award is a totally fitting way for their efforts to be recognised on a grand scale, and they thoroughly deserve this accolade.”