‘Life changing’ scheme promises a brighter future for young people

September 3, 2018 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Local Cotswold News

A project designed to give West Oxfordshire residents a fresh start in life has been launched.

Two under 35-year-olds have moved into their own home thanks to the Our House project run by West Oxfordshire District Council and Cottsway Housing Association.

But this is much more than shared accommodation – it’s a community housing project which will involve the tenants renovating the Witney property and being given the opportunity to learn different trades at the same time with the help of experts.

The occupants are currently on out-of-work benefits but could take on an apprenticeship which will pave the way to full-time employment.

Other partners in the project include Ace Training in Kidlington and the Aspire charity in Oxford which provides commercial services delivered by people facing barriers to securing employment.

Kloe Bennett, 23, said: “I’m really looking forward to living independently in my own home, doing it up and even getting a job at the end of it.”

Stephen Wiltshire, 32, is hoping to start a maintenance apprenticeship and is already enjoying working on the property.

He said: “It’s great that I can move out of my parents’ house and make a new start. I’m really excited.”

Project Co-ordinator Sam Stronach said: “These young people may not have had much support in the past but now we can help them change their lives.

“They can learn to live independently and also train towards a career. This is a really exciting time for everyone involved.”

Funding has come from a government grant and Sam is already looking at another Witney property in a bid to expand the project and she is appealing for more potential tenants to come forward.

Cllr Steve Good, Cabinet Member for Housing Management, added: “I am delighted that Stephen and Kloe have settled in so well in what I hope will be the first of many homes in the Our House project. I am sure it will be a resounding success.”