Cornerstone Expands in Growth

A North East based charity is set to expand in services and jobs after receiving support and guidance from RTC North.

Born out of a desire to tackle homelessness and antisocial behavior, the charity, based in County Durham, provides housing support as well as workshop-based work experience. Cornerstone’s vision was to make the charity more sustainable by increasing trading income and job opportunities for service users.

The team at RTC North worked with to develop an effective plan focused on growing trading income through the sale of furniture manufactured in its workshop. Steve Vasey, CEO of Cornerstone explains the outcomes that have arisen from the project: 

“Based on the outcomes of this project, Cornerstone is now looking to expand workshop production over the next 3 years.  This expansion will include, establishing a separate training workshop, for which, we would like to appoint a Workshop Manager to take forward this aspect of the plan.

“The vast majority of our service users are unemployed when they join us and most probably unemployable at this stage. Unemployment rates are high in South West Durham and in Hartlepool and we therefore need to create more jobs for our service users with the eventual aim of offering a 12-month job opportunity to all our service users.”

Cornerstone is now looking to equip service users with the skills to progress into other jobs and into training and education. The team are working with the Open College Network to develop an improved form of validation, specific to Cornerstone, so that their workshop-based activities and off the job training will generate qualifications equivalent to GCE entry level in English and Maths, which are the minimum requirements for entry to college or an apprenticeship.

Alongside this, they aim to contribute a range of other positive impacts in terms of increased accreditation and qualifications, improved self-confidence, reductions in substance misuse and offending and ability to sustain a tenancy.  

Big Lottery Fund’s new £10 million fund is aimed at eligible voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations (VSCEs) to improve their sustainability, capacity and scale and help them deliver greater social impact for communities across England. 
Big Potential is administered by the Social Investment Business on behalf of the Big Lottery Fund in partnership with Locality, Social Enterprise UK, Charity Bank and the University of Northampton. 
A grant from the fund will help VCSEs, at the very beginning of their social investment journey, to get specialist and tailored support to become investment ready

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