Community Sparkle was set up to give specific help to the very long-term unemployed, many of whom have completed the Work Programme, but are still unable to secure any work experience or employment. It provides people with a safe setting to get back into the habit of a basic work ethic, and to understand the importance of punctuality, teamwork and a commitment to work. Community Sparkle allows a refresh and development of new skills by working on community projects for 4 days a week, with 1 day a week spent on assisted job search with a specially trained job broker.
The beneficiaries undertake valuable work experience, as well as gaining pride in themselves and their communities. Having recent work experience on a CV significantly increases the chances of gaining permanent employment.
Being employed is proven to be good for a person’s health, well-being and sense of value within the local community. It is also well documented that smartening up the physical environment can help to reduce low-level crime and antisocial behaviour. With this in mind, Community Sparkle engages with local Community organisations, and offers to provide support in return for meaningful work placements which will be of benefit to the Sparklers.
Community Sparkle launched in Bassetlaw last October and has been awarded an RSA Catalyst grant. Within 2 months, it secured work placements for 32 participants, and 3 full-time jobs.
There are plans to open a ‘Ready for Work Wear’ shop in Mansfield offering free clothing for job interviews or the first few weeks of work for those who cannot afford them. They have also applied for a grant to purchase a minibus, to transport participants to and from projects.