Although a shorter month due to being closed for two weeks for Christmas, we still managed to fit in lots of great work and continue to build a strong base ready for 2022.

We attended a recruitment drive along with the Job Centre for some Kickstart positions that we have funding for, which help young people currently out of work to find supported employment and mentorship, where we met some very promising young candidates, one of whom we are hiring as a workshop assistant in the new year (to help them to learn some practical and employment skills, as well as to help out with the general running of the workshop).

We inducted another new service user, who although it only being early days, does seem to be enjoying it and learning a lot. We’ve had our first volunteer helping out in the workshop, who after their H&S induction etc. has been kind enough to donate three mornings in December and is transferring his previous practical work experience (prior to retirement) across to our tools refurbishment and seemingly finding it very fulfilling. We also helped to refer some other volunteering help over to our hand-up service for the Christmas meal preparation and service, to ensure that the most impoverished in Northampton didn’t miss out on the big day.

I have been running a female personal protection course, helping vulnerable women in the community to build their awareness to hopefully avoid dangerous situations, and some practical self-defense skills should the worst happen. The ladies are really enjoying it and progressing well, and I look forward to further building on their newfound skills in the New Year.

We had a very positive meeting with an NHS social prescriber (Spring), along with one of their potential new service users, who we have booked in to start with us in the second week of January (all being well). Spring is also referring another person to our female personal protection course and with the potential for more workshop referrals in the future.

Building on our relationship with the DWP via the Kickstart Scheme, I was asked to give a talk to a group of young people (who are currently struggling to find work), on ways to help them to find employment, interview skills, and C.V writing tips. The talk was well-received, with some of the young people saying that it was very informative and helpful. You never know we may see some of them again in the future as we continue to recruit for the other Kickstart positions we have available in the centre.

We delivered some of our donation wheelie bins to Rushden Allotment Society, who have been kind enough to promote our services, in the hope of continuing to generate future garden tool donations. We also dropped some more tools and Xmas table decorations off at one of our sales outlets and provided seasonal decorations for a Xmas fair, run by our fundraising team, which seemed to go well. Overall a very positive close to a productive year and I’m looking forward to making further progress and building the services we offer after a well-deserved festive break.