A new programme launched by whg on the Red House Estate in Aldridge is using National Lottery funding to improve the lives of customers.

The Step Up Step Out programme will help unemployed customers on the estate move one step closer to finding work. The programme will engage with hundreds of customers on the estate and will help them overcome barriers to employment.

To do this, customers will be encouraged to take part in a five-step confidence and skills building programme to become work ready, improve their health and wellbeing, and progress to learning, training and job opportunities.

Initiatives such as Waist Away – whg’s healthy lifestyle programme which helps people boost their overall health and wellbeing – have already launched on the estate, from the Myatt House Community Room. Further initiatives will launch soon, including a Supermarket Sweep initiative, where customer will get helpful advice on how to budget when carrying out their weekly food shop.

The programme is part of Community Matters, which has been funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund as part of the Building Better Opportunities project.

whg secured £130,000 from the project to fund this programme. Heart of England Community Foundation is the accountable body for this programme

Belinda Shepherd, who has lived on the Red House Estate for three years, is benefiting from the Step Up Step Out programme.

She said: “Before the programme, I didn’t know anyone and would spend most days in my home. I suffer from depression and anxiety and found it hard to get out of the house. In the first few days, I was withdrawn and sat at the back of the sessions, but getting to know everyone really brought me out of my shell.

“The work that whg is doing here is amazing. It is like a family here now – I have made new friends and I feel like I have a life. I have now signed up to be a volunteer for whg on the estate and I’m really looking forward to getting started.”

Julie Haywood, whg’s Director of Employment and Training, said: “The Step Up Step Out programme will transform the lives of many of our customers on the Red House Estate. It will help customers improve their confidence and emotional wellbeing, moving them nearer to opportunities within education, volunteering and employment

“We are delighted to have received funding from Building Better Opportunities to deliver this programme in partnership with the Heart of England Community Foundation. The funding will really benefit our customers – it will not only help to improve their future employment prospects, but it will also ensure they live a happier and healthier life.”

Neelam Sunder, Community Matters Partnership Manager at the Heart of England Community Foundation, said: “The Step Up Step Out programme is an excellent example of how individuals can be supported to reach their potential. We are really pleased to be working in partnership with whg to deliver this exciting initiative.”