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Alnwick Community Centre was a buzz on Wednesday with the launch of new project led by Northumberland County Council.

The Alnwick Learning Hive has been developed in partnership with the Northern Learning Trust, and will provide local residents access to courses and facilities to improve their employability prospects.

Residents will be able to take advantage of free IT facilities, support with job search, CV and application writing, interview skills, basic IT skills and help with online benefit applications.

Weekly, drop-in, sessions will be held at Alnwick Community Centre on Mondays and Wednesday from 9.30am-2.30pm.

The Learning Hive was developed after the council’s Resident Involvement Team surveyed people in the area to find out what they felt would help improve the community.  It has been funded through a £23,000 grant from procurement consultancy firm Prosper.

Other partners include Symphony Kitchens, who have donated computers and laptops and Bridge, an employability service which helps people in Northumberland into employment.

Residents and councillors for Alnwick were invited to the launch event today to hear more about the scheme and its plans for the future.

The project follows a similar scheme which was launched in Blyth earlier this year called Newsham Matters. This project has offered residents in the Newsham area a range of services including a weekly craft group, First Aid courses and help with improving IT skills and job searches. The project has already helped a number of people back into work as well as obtaining new qualifications.

Cllr John Riddle, cabinet member for housing at the council said: “We hope that people in the Alnwick area will take advantage of the free services being offered to them.

“Improving residents’ employment prospects can be the first step in giving people the confidence to change their lives for the better.

“We have already seen a positive impact from a similar scheme in Newsham, where residents have been improving their skills, which has also led to them feeling less isolated in their community.”

Rod Brassington, Chief Executive of Prosper said: “Our whole ethos is about adding social value and allowing our customers to invest in their communities. It’s fantastic to see how the community will benefit from these services and facilities.”

For more information on the Learning Hive drop into the community centre for a chat or call 07960 609725.