Greg to shine spotlight on innovative local charities


Greg Barker, MP, is to convene a meeting with the Department of Work and Pensions and Work Programme providers to try to help local charities extend the work they are doing with young people like Tom (picture attached).

Tom has joined the L-earn project, a scheme set up by Hastings Furniture Service (HFS) and other local charities to provide earn-while-you-learn opportunities. Young people get a worthwhile job in a social enterprise workplace and a mixture of on-the-job and essential training. The six-month placements aim to help people get ready for College, work and apprenticeships.

Tom says: “I’ve been working for HFS at their London Road, Bexhill store for about 3 months. The work is really varied and active. I especially like getting out on the van collecting donations of furniture from local households and delivering to people who need help. So far I have gained certificates in first aid and health and safety at work, I’m improving English and Maths, and I have finished my qualification in furniture restoration. I really enjoyed the restoration course so I would like to progress to a carpentry and joinery apprenticeship.”

East Sussex County Council has funded ten L-earn placements as a pilot of the scheme and is working with Hastings Furniture Service to look for further sources of funding to support the project in future. Hastings Trust, Lets Do Business, Finding Futures and Rother Voluntary Action are all pooling expertise in the partnership to help young people who are not in work or training.

Mr Barker said: “I was thoroughly impressed with the work that our local social enterprises are doing to help people like Tom to get into work. Hastings Furniture Service had clearly helped Tom to flourish through training and genuine work experience. I hope I can bring together the right people to help extend this innovative pilot project so that more young people can benefit. It is fantastic to see our local charities leading the way on this and I urge everyone to support them.”

HFS stores in Hastings and Bexhill are open to everyone with discounts for those most in need; low income households, pensioners and students. Reusable furniture can be collected throughout Hastings and Rother. Call 01424 22 35 94 or 01424 44 11 12 or click