Volunteers help people get back in to work

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A COMMUNITY volunteering project has been hailed a huge success after supporting 2,070 Doncaster residents back into learning, training and employment in its first year.

The innovative Community Learning and Employment project or CLEC, part of the Success Doncaster programme, started in April 2010 with the recruitment of 59 volunteer CLEC Champions living in different areas of Doncaster.

The Champions, many of whom were long-term unemployed or lacked the confidence or skills to get back into employment, embarked on a wide variety of training courses and then worked directly with their fellow residents to motivate and inspire them to do the same.

Some 17 Champions have so far found employment themselves.

Donna Whittingham, project manager for Action for Employment, the organisation delivering the project, said: “I am so proud of the Champions’ combined achievements. They have gained so much over the project - it’s been a truly invaluable personal and professional journey for them.”

Kelly Louise Bower grew in confidence after she joined the project.

As a Champion she was motivated to join an amateur dramatics group and took part in several public performances over Christmas.

Kelly is a full-time carer for her mother but has made a huge impact supporting 238 of her fellow Skellow residents.

Balby resident Wayne Page was one of the first Champions recruited and, thanks to CLEC, is now actively seeking work after implementing his own action plan.

He has also signposted over 200 people in his local area to do the same.