Tenants get taste of new skills and festive cheer

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Some of Clanmil Housing’s Lisburn area tenants have taken part in a training ‘taster session’ under a new £850,000 programme jointly introduced with training agency WOMEN’STEC.

Over the next three years, under the new Supporting People – Empowering Communities Programme, some 500 people across Northern Ireland will have the opportunity to access accredited training in traditional skills such as construction, plumbing, joinery, painting and decorating, tiling, horticulture and IT.

Part funded by the Northern Ireland European Social Fund 2014-2020 – Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme, the Department of Employment and Learning, Belfast City Council, Gilbert-Ash Construction Group and JMC Mechanical and Construction Ltd, the programme is designed to give people struggling to find employment the opportunity to build skills which will help equip them for the workplace.

In Lisburn, people living in Clanmil’s homes at Causeway Meadows, Brokerstown Meadow, Mountview Drive and Dog Kennel Close and Crescent got a chance to sample some of the training on offer at a special Christmas-themed taster session at Trinity Methodist Church. While the kids enjoyed karaoke and a visit from Santa, Mums and Dads were able to try their hand at making wooden “Santa Stop Here” door hangers and Christmas table centrepieces.

More than 60 people took part, among them Leesa McMichael, who lives at Causeway Meadows.

“I really enjoyed getting together with my friends and neighbours,” she said. “It’s been great fun and we’ve all learnt a bit about joinery and how to use some of the tools. . .

“We had a great laugh, met some new people from other Clanmil developments and the kids really enjoyed the party too.

“I would definitely take part in these sessions again.”

A full 10-week SPEC program will start in Lisburn during the Spring, offering residents a chance to take part in a series of workshops.

As well as new skills, participants will have the opportunity to gain a beginner qualification in joinery, helping them along the road to employment.

Philip Whyte, Clanmil’s Community Cohesion Officer, is actively involved in delivering the SPEC program to tenants.

He said; “We are delighted with the level of interest shown by tenants in the SPEC program so far.”