The BBC 2 premiere of Newcastle-based film ‘I, Daniel Blake’ last weekend has brought austerity and the welfare system back into the media spotlight.
The film tells the story of Daniel Blake, a carpenter who has a heart attack and can no longer work, and exposes the harsh realities of the welfare system.
Now, one Wallsend organisation wants to help people facing similar situations.
Skills training provider and specialist carers, Cygnet North East is trying to use the area’s ship-building past to help those with health conditions get back into employment.
The provider has launched a new programme called “Create Your Future” to help those who have been out of work gain the skills and confidence needed to return to work.
“Create Your Future” uses art and creative writing to look at the economic and commercial history of Wallsend.
And Cygnet North East’s offices couldn’t be better placed to reflect the town’s history as they are opposite both Segedunum and the former Swan Hunter shipyard.
Kelly Oliver Dougall of Cygnet North East is confident that the new programme will help change future aspirations for those who take part in the course.
“The course breaks down barriers between disability and employers and builds self-confidence and belief.
“We are looking for people who have a health condition and are facing or have recently been made redundant, or anyone who has been out of work for a few years but feels ready to start thinking about work again.
“If someone isn’t ready to work but wants to meet more people and they enjoy art then we can also help them.”
“At the end of the project we will also have a number of pieces of art that we can showcase to the local community,” said Kelly.
Cygnet’s own Head of Care John MacDonald was himself offered the post after he took part in job ready skills training after suffering a brain injury.
“John took part in one of our courses as he was unemployed after an illness caused problems with his memory and general health,” said Kelly.
“We’re hoping that by working with local businesses and the community we can have similar outcomes for some of our participants.”
Kelly is encouraging businesses to support the programme by giving talks, helping with activities or contributing stories about Wallsend in the past.
Anyone who wishes to know more either as a participant or a business can contact Cygnet North East on 0191 908 9384
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