Handyman helps social enterprise grow

Handyman helps social enterprise grow

A social enterprise which is ten years old is celebrating with two new employees and giving one mature worker a second lease of life thanks to a grant from PATH Yorkshire.

Stephen Stainforth thought he would never work again when new owners took over the Leeds city centre hotel where he worked and made him redundant.  Although he had decades of experience and expertise, he knew that at 64 many employers would want a younger person.

Clean Start, which was launched by Turning Lives Around, a Leeds based charity, which prevents homelessness, has a track record of employing people on their merits and recognised the value Stephen would add to their brand.

Amanda Lister is the manager for Clean Start and when she was given funding to help two people start their journey back into work by Path Yorkshire she spotted Stephen’s potential immediately.

“We were set up to help our service users get back into employment by providing a deep cleansing service.  We also tackle hoarding and last year launched a decorating service for people who couldn’t afford commercial decorators to expand our services and meet customer demand,” she said.

“Increasingly landlords and customers, happy with our core services have been asking us to do trades jobs such as plastering, plumbing, joinery; Stephen was ideal.  Already he has saved our clients a small fortune and added to our range of services,” she said.

“The PATH Yorkshire funding was given to Leeds City Council, to specifically help get people back into work.  It is match funded for six months providing two people with 25 hours work a week and includes some training.

The funding has also helped Cassie Burgess, who used to work on fibre installations for a broadband company.  The pair work four days a week including one day’s training on skills including Health and Safety.

“We hope that at the end of the six-month contract Stephen and Cassie will be able to remain with us,” added Amanda.

The two new appointments add to Ria Smith who also joined under a shared funding scheme last year and takes the total number of Clean Start employees to nine.

Janet Spencer is Chief Executive of TLA.  She said: “Clean Start has demonstrated it can do a first-class job reliably.  That has created a demand for more services which has meant more employees.  Proof that preventing homelessness gives people the chance to truly turn their lives around.”