Weymouth and Portland youth employment project shortlisted for top housing award

A youth employment project led by [Weymouth-based] housing association Synergy Housing has been nominated for a coveted housing industry award.

The company, which is part of the Aster Group [and has local offices at Cambridge Road, Weymouth], has been shortlisted for 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.

Synergy has been recognised for its work on the b-roads project, a creative youth employment initiative which ran across Weymouth and Portland between 2013 and 2015. The project has been selected in two categories – Excellence in Youth Involvement and Excellence in Employment Skills and Training – category in the award’s Southern Region Final, which takes place on Friday, 5 February 2016 at the Hilton Hotel in Wembley, London.

All of the regional winners will then go through to the National Final, to be held on Thursday, 14 July at Chesford Grange Hotel in Warwickshire.

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 Synergy 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, Synergy Housing regional director for Dorset, said: “It’s Aster Group’s vision that everyone should have a home. Anyone who has a secure roof over their head has a much greater chance of building a successful life for themselves, and of accessing new skills, training and employment opportunities.

“The b-roads project has delivered some very encouraging results – we’re very pleased it has been recognised by being shortlisted for a TPAS Award. It’s a great testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone who’s been involved in the project.”