Brian McManus, 37, relocated to the north east from Essex when living in the south of the country proved unaffordable.

However by working County Durham Housing Group’s Employment and Skills Team the tables have turned for Brian, partner Sophie and son Isaac.

Brian, who was previously unemployed, now works part-time as a cleaner for the National Grid and volunteers at New Brancespeth Primary School’s allotments; saying the group’s support has been ‘invaluable’.

He said: “My landlord Durham City Homes made me aware of the employability services available through County Durham Housing Group.

“I took part in one of their CV writing sessions, which really did help me to turn a corner in terms of getting responses from jobs, rather than just applying and not hearing a thing back.

“The course really opened my eyes to how naïve I had been and how complex finding a job can be.”

Employment and Skills Officer, Claire Maddison, helped Brian to secure his new role.

She said: “Nothing is more rewarding than working with someone like Brian, who has the skills and aptitude to work, but just needed advice on the right avenues to investigate.”

County Durham Housing Group works together with local landlords Dale & Valley Homes, Durham City Homes and East Durham Homes to run a range of free courses to help people get back into work, access training and apprenticeship schemes, and build their self-confidence.

For more information call 0191 349 7657 or email employability@cdhg.co.uk