Help is available for women looking to learn basic DIY and trade skills in Newcastle.

A free 8-week course, teaching basic skills in painting & decorating, tiling, plumbing, electrical repairs, bricklaying and plastering repairs has been launched.

The East End Women DIY/basic trades project has received a grant of £9,200 from Karbon Homes and is aimed at all women aged 16+ from East Newcastle and Wallsend.

The initiative is being delivered by Building Futures East – a skills training and social enterprise company based in Walker Riverside. The organisation provides a wide range of employment-focussed vocational skills learning programmes and engages residents, particularly those who can be hard to reach.

The organisation will run five 8-week courses with the first four for women only and then the last one open to both sexes. The courses aim to help participants learn new practical skills that can be used in their own homes but also form new friendships and receive support to help them with future training and employment opportunities.

The courses are open to all residents living in East Newcastle and Wallsend with Walker tenants being the first to be targeted and a campaign has started to target the 705 Karbon Homes properties within the area.

Melanie Rees, Community Involvement Officer at Karbon Homes, said: “A large proportion of single parents are women and these courses are designed to give them the practical skills to help them live in safe, well maintained homes for themselves and their children.

“The courses are available to all residents and in particular, Karbon Homes’ residents, to give them the skills and knowledge to carry out their own low level repairs without feeling they need to report a repair.

“There has been a lot of interest in these courses with only a limited number of places available each week. I would encourage anyone thinking of applying to do so soon before they are all full.”

Francesca Maddison, Local Programmes Manager for Building Futures East, said: “The DIY/basic trades course is a fantastic opportunity for local women to develop a range of new skills and improve their confidence and social networks. Aside from providing tutelage on a range of invaluable home maintenance techniques, the course can also act as a springboard for those wishing to pursue further trades training or employment – and we’re ideally placed to help with that.

“The course was suggested by a group of local women who’d participated in one of our other projects, and was co-developed by them as designers of the programme. It is entirely community owned and is proving a hugely popular opportunity – as Melanie says, anyone interested in getting involved shouldn’t hesitate to get in touch.”

The courses, which are delivered by an experienced tutor, will run every Tuesday between 10am & 2.30pm. They will be held at Building Futures East on White Street in Walker and places are limited to a maximum of 20 participants.

To enrol, please call Building Futures East on 0191 263 2752 or email francesca@buildingfutureseast.org

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