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WATCH project funding raises self-esteem for local people

April 26, 2012

WATCH Project

Pictured (l tor r) back row Andrew Conlan (WATCH Management Committee), Charles Snudden (Volunteer/Member), Julie Matthews (Project Co-ordinator), Ellie Turner (Yarlington Housing Group). Front row Cliff Vodden (Volunteer Member)

A project which aims to reach out to socially isolated adults in Chard and provide them with new skills has received further funding thanks to a local affordable housing provider.

WATCH, which stands for Working All Together in Chard, has received £29,060 of funding from Yarlington Housing Group, which will finance a Project Co-ordinator for a year, cover running costs of the project and future development.

Yarlington resident Julie Matthews will take up the role of Project Co-ordinator and she aims to reach out to socially isolated adults in the town and provide them with new skills, a chance to make new friends, explore employment and volunteer opportunities. This is done through informal first step learning activities including art and crafts, confidence building techniques, sculpture building, mosaics, IT skills and creative writing. The group also offer practical work experience and volunteering opportunities.

Julie commented ‘I am so pleased and grateful to Yarlington to be able to get a year’s funding for the project, which will also secure my employment and enable me to get off state benefits. It has been a hard struggle to get the WATCH project off the ground and with the support of the Chard International Peer Group and other agencies I hope I will be able to co-ordinate a project that members’ can use to fulfil their own potential whether it is to find employment, volunteering opportunities or to make new friends.’

One beneficiary of the WATCH project, Charles Snudden ,who after some taster carpentry sessions has undertaken activities such as repairing broken fixtures and fittings within the local Youth Centre. He also helped with ordering and collecting wood supplies and repairing the pool table from Tatworth Village Hall. Charles is now a regular volunteer with Forefront Church, which is an activity that he has taken up as a result of his positive learning experience and volunteering opportunity. The project has given Charles a real confidence boost and he has now returned to regular employment after a year of not working.

Charles said ‘This group saved my life. I really enjoyed working here and learning new skills. The support is amazing and I am starting to piece my life back together.’

Ellie Turner Yarlington Housing Group Community Partnership Worker said ‘We are delighted to work in partnership with WATCH, it’s a service that allows people to realsie their skills and breaks down the barriers for people looking for employment. The funding will support WATCH into the future and will benefit thousands of our residents in the area.’

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