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Communities see £1 million boost

Orbit, the Coventry-based 38,000-home housing association, has invested more than £1 million in community projects this year alone, and has announced plans to invest around a further £2.8million starting in the coming months, through 2015/16.

As part of Orbit’s ambitious 2020 Vision, it has a target of delivering £30 million investment into its communities, providing 10,000 training and employment opportunities and providing customers with free help to get online.

This investment has already achieved some great results, providing 3,200 people with training and capacity building activities, and having helped 367 into employment. Orbit has announced these figures during national Responsible Business Week, which supports businesses working to deliver a fairer society for customers and wider communities,

To help reach these goals Orbit has a team of dedicated employment support officers who are on hand to help its customers throughout their employment journey. The Group is also creating access to apprenticeship and work experience placements to meet a greater range of employment needs, with over 50 across the business and our supply chains this year.

Christine Walton, senior employment support officer, said: “We understand that for some customers there are barriers to employment, and we are committed to working with customers to find ways to break these down. The results we are seeing are fantastic and moving us quickly towards our 2020 targets.

“We have initiatives, such as grants to cover childcare costs, travel passes and new uniforms, as these can be the first hurdle that job hunters have to overcome.”

Orbit has also helped over 1000 people get online by investing in Wi-Fi in some of their housing schemes and running free digital skills sessions at its offices and in people’s homes.

Orbit has undertaken a unique project for the housing sector, which addresses safety online. By interviewing a range of young people extensive research has helped the Group understand the biggest concerns around the internet to enable it to provide guidance for young people, as well as helping Orbit’s front line teams to support people with difficult situations online.

Also increasing the level of financial support through a specialist advice services team, Orbit provides free advice to tackle money, energy and tenancy issues. Over 17,000 advice sessions have already been provided to its customers and communities.

Sam Scharf, head of community investment at Orbit Group, said: “The programmes we invest in at Orbit, as well as the direct services we deliver, are vital in enabling people to tackle a whole range issues affecting their lives in an independent and friendly manner. For us, the key success factor is seeing just how much people can change their outlook and prospects with our help and support.”

For further information about Orbit’s employment journey support, training opportunities and grants please contact its community investment team on 0345 8 500 500.