Helping-Hand For Would-Be Tenants

Young people in North Staffordshire are being given vital training to help them prepare for renting their very first home.

Colin downs and SwanwickThe Moving On-Moving In programme is aimed at 18-24 year-olds who want to become a social housing customer. This age group is targeted because it traditionally has the highest tenancy failure rate.

The training is given by Aspire Housing and its sister company PM Training, a social enterprise that provides employment and skills training for young people.

Practical sessions focus on how to tackle everything from money management, tenancy roles and responsibilities, to day-to-day DIY and maintenance including the ever tedious task of assembling flat-pack furniture. Help with healthy-living and preparing for employment is also available.

Caroline Baggaley, head of housing, said: “The programme is run for people waiting to be housed for the first time. It gives potential new Aspire Housing customers the skills needed to live independently, so that they can sustain tenancies.

“Effective money management sessions for example, are important to ensure they don’t get into debt. The first experience of living independently can be daunting, so advice on things like putting together flat-pack furniture can be a huge aid. We have also been able to help people complete CVs and take up further training and skills courses.

“The training doesn’t necessarily result in a tenancy with Aspire, but it does give people the core skills they need to make them ready for such a move, and we can provide them with a reference to give to other landlords.”

Day time training sessions are held at Aspire Housing’s town centre office on Merrial Street, Newcastle under Lyme and PM Trainings premises for evening sessions.

To help improve resident DIY skills, the organisation also makes use of an empty Aspire Housing property in Newcastle-under-Lyme, where practical lessons in decorating and home maintenance are given by PM Training tutors.

Karl Swanwich, 24, from Clayton, Newcastle-under-Lyme, has undertaken the training and is now registered with Aspire Housing with a view to taking up a future tenancy. “The sessions are really helpful, especially the time spent on money management.

“Knowing the average cost of shopping bills, electricity and the best way to put money aside is invaluable. It will put me in good stead for the future and I’ve already recommended it to people I know,” said Karl.

So far this year around 60 young people have benefited from the training and more sessions are now underway. The Aspire team are also working with local schools to bring the courses to 6th form students.

For more information about Moving On, Moving In, please contact 01782 635 200.