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The HandyHelp Co

Long-term unemployed people in Bath and North East Somerset have upped tools to help vulnerable people and those on low incomes to improve their homes and gardens.

The HandyHelp Company is a new social enterprise project set up by DHI and Clean Slate Training & Employment (and supported by Somer Housing). It offers basic painting and decorating, gardening, house and garden clearance, removals, and installing smoke alarms, for example. It will also fit low energy products to help reduce household bills. The team – all of whom are locally based and face barriers to employment – were trained at Bath City Farm.

Trainees at HandyHelp have already been working since November 2011 to bring empty homes into use, working in partnership with Bath & North East Somerset council. The idea is to make unused properties habitable, bringing them into use for people on the long waiting list for social housing, tackling homelessness.

Mark Coates, Social Enterprise Development Director at DHI, said:

"It's been a real pleasure working with the HandyHelp trainees in recent months, refurbishing empty homes in Oldfield Park and Saltford. The guys have put in some really hard work, and the property owners have reported being very happy with the results. We're excited to be able now to formally launch the scheme – helping local homeowners while also creating jobs for hard-working trainees who just need to be given a chance."

Clean Slate employment coordinator, Ceri Clements, said:

“This is a golden opportunity for the workless people Clean Slate works with. From research we did in 2009, we know this is the kind of work many people are looking for, and this is a great opportunity to help the community at the same time.”

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