End of road for Sheffield youth scheme

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A long-running scheme to help some of Sheffield’s most disadvantaged young people into work has been axed.

Sheffield Council has scrapped the City Stewardship programme, run in partnership with contractors Kier, which for 15 years has targeted ‘disengaged youths’ through work on social housing.

Thousands of learners have been taught skills in basic construction and horticulture since the scheme began in 1999.

Those who took part also gained qualifications in maths, English and IT and gave back to communities by improving social housing and maintaining 3,000 green spaces for elderly and vulnerable people.

Despite its success, the council has decided to call time on the scheme.

Instead, Kier workers will carry out jobs around the homes of social housing tenants through the ‘handy person’ service.

Janet Sharpe, council interim director of housing, said: “We’ve looked again at the City Stewardship Scheme and we believe we need to provide a greater range of training opportunities that will help us deliver the housing service we need in the future, and give trainees the skills and experience they need.

“We are consulting with our customers to develop a new service.

“Our elderly and vulnerable residents are very important to us.

“We will continue to support them with their gardens, working alongside estate officers to maintain the wider environment and support the citywide roll- out of the handy-person service.”