'Happy place' project hailed a success in Worcester

Former city council leader, Councillor Adrian Gregson

Former city council leader, Councillor Adrian Gregson

First published in News Worcester News: Tom Edwards by , Political Reporter

A FIVE-YEAR project to help people in Worcester's most impoverished areas is being hailed a success.

A new report has detailed how residents living in Gorse Hill, Rainbow Hill and Warndon are benefitting from a major project aimed at reducing inequalities.

Our Happy Place launched back in 2010, and will draw to a close in April next year after funding hundreds of activities.

Worcester City Council has now published a seven-page dossier revealing some of the key achievements behind it.

A domestic abuse project has led to 180 women and their families getting professional support and advice.

It followed a bid to train up scores of housing officers, children's centre staff and teachers in all three council wards so they can spot signs of a family who may be victims of it.

Our Happy Place has also led to 1,500 homes across the three areas getting free internal wall insulation to bring down their heating bills.

In terms of people's finances, a savings scheme was launched for parents at Gorse Hill Primary which is still going.

The project, which launched in 2011, saw a body of volunteers trained to manage the scheme.

The report also cites crime as a focus, saying homes across all the areas have been door-knocked for security advice and some handed free anti-burglary smart water kits to trace trespassers.

On top of that, fire safety checks have been carried out at 600 properties.

Since Our Happy Place launched overall crime rates in the three areas are down 10 per cent and anti-social behaviour has fallen 13 per cent.

The next big project over the next nine months will focus on training up a group of volunteers to offer guidance to residents on subjects like health, work and finances.

Bosses behind the project are setting a target of offering 500 people 'drop in' support in group sessions, and structured one-on-one help for 50 residents.

Another project will be the construction of a new training facility attached to the existing Warndon Community Centre to host study and training opportunities to residents from January next year.

It will include 14-16 year-olds deemed at risk of dropping out of education, teenagers aged 16-19, and people referred from bodies like the probation service and NHS.

The report was accepted by the city council's scrutiny committee, where members said low wages was at the root of inequality.

Councillor Adrian Gregson, chairman of the committee, said: "I read an article about the city of York that struck a chord here - it said the problem they have is not that there isn't enough work available, but there isn't enough work that pays people to sustain a good standard of living."

Comments (1)

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10:29pm Fri 25 Jul 14

Perfman says...

Four years work for a "Worcester City Council has now published a seven-page dossier" - 7 pages!
Four years work for a "Worcester City Council has now published a seven-page dossier" - 7 pages! Perfman
  • Score: -2

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