New Horizons programme
Longhurst Group has helped equip over 100 people with the skills they need to move closer to finding work.
The New Horizons programme is a financial inclusion project funded by the European Social Fund and the National Lottery Community Fund.
We are one of the leading partners of the programme, offering coaching to help people in the Peterborough area develop vital skills such as budgeting, accessing bank accounts, managing money and general IT skills.
To date we have worked with over 150 people through this project, including many residents at our Supported housing accommodation and also people from our local community.
"You can see how far New Horizons participants travel to move along on their journey. We have to work with those possibly furthest from the job market so to move them closer to it is phenomenal.”
Karen Prince, Head of Community Programmes, is a board member for the New Horizons project. She said she was delighted with the progress of the project.
“For somebody to take part, there needs to be a financial driver,” she said.
“This could be a change in their circumstances, such as entering a hostel for the homeless, becoming unemployed or having a large bill that they are unable to pay.
“The premise behind it is that we can help them in terms of financial work – providing them with budgeting skills, how they can access bank accounts and manage their money.
“The project also goes further than that in that is recognises that getting people into employment is the best way to address these issues, so we look to move them closer to the labour market.
“Part of that is that we also provide them with employment skills – helping to apply for jobs, creating a CV or help to search for courses.
“We know that IT skills are very useful so can help them with that too.”
Karen said that the project is managed by Cambridge Housing Society, with Longhurst Group acting as one of the lead partners.
She said: “This is quite a big partnership that has developed and come about. As an organisation we are working with partners we’ve not worked with previously.
“This was 18 months in development so from that point of view I am proud. I am equally proud of the work we have been doing with participants in the programme as they get the intensive support from the coaches.
“You can see how far they travel to move along on their journey. We have to work with those possibly furthest from the job market so to move them closer to it is phenomenal.”
“New Horizons is one of the best things we have ever had here. It is addressing the issues that people are experiencing right now. You can see that immediate relief when an issue is sorted out."
Mairead Wright, Employment, Skills and Enterprise Manager, used to also work as a coach on the project. She said people can be referred into New Horizons in a number of different ways.
She said: “As the project is driven by the individual, they might need help in one area, or it might be in two or three.
“It is not about doing things for them, it is encouraging them to have the confidence or skills to be able to do it themselves.
“People can be referred in by staff, sometimes by their peers, or they might be using computer facilities for something else and Iwe notice there is an issue.
“The reason why they normally come to us is because they have one urgent issue that needs addressing. That might be something to do with their rent or they are having a change of circumstances and it is affecting their Universal Credit or Housing Benefit.
“The first thing we do is find out what they need help with. Once you get that sorted you usually find other things that have led to that issue. We will go through a goals and development plan based on our initial assessment and set some initial goals. We will use that as we progress to make sure they are meeting them or if something needs changing.
“Each client can have up to 20 hours of one-to-one coaching, but we also have drop in sessions on certain days for people to come in and get help if they have moved out.
“New Horizons is one of the best things we have ever had here. It is addressing the issues that people are experiencing right now.
“You can see that immediate relief when an issue is sorted out”