North East Connected

Free DIY courses for women

New dates have been announced for basic DIY and trade skills courses aimed at women in Newcastle, after a successful first year.

The courses teach women aged 16+ basic skills in painting & decorating, tiling, plumbing, electrical repairs, floor laying and bricklaying.

Housing association Karbon Homes has stepped forward and donated £5,000 to contribute towards three new courses which will be held on 31 July, 14 August and 28 August.

The courses are organised by the East End Women DIY/basic trades project and delivered by Building Futures East – a skills training and social enterprise company based in Walker Riverside. The organisation provides a wide range of employment-focused vocational skills learning programmes and engages residents, particularly those who are hard to reach.

Participants learn new practical skills that can be used in their own homes, and 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 the east end of Newcastle with Walker tenants being the first targeted area and a campaign has commenced to target all of the 705 properties owned by Karbon Homes within the area.

Julie Riseborough, Community Involvement Officer at Karbon Homes, said: “We are really pleased to be able to continue supporting this project which provides basic DIY and trades skills to women. The 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 local residents, to give them the skills and knowledge to carry out their own low level repairs without feeling they need to report everything to their landlord.

“There is only a limited number of places available on each course and we are expecting demand to be high. Residents who participated in the courses last time found them really useful so if you think you will benefit from attending these free courses, please apply now.”

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 guidance 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 Julie says, anyone interested in getting involved shouldn’t hesitate to get in touch.”

The series of summer classes, which are delivered by an experienced tutor, will run for three days, with an optional fourth day for participants who would like practical employability support. They will be held at Building Futures East, on White Street in Walker and places are limited to 15 participants for each class.

To enrol, please call Building Futures East on 0191 263 2752 or email

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