Sunderland charity supporting black and minority ethnic residents into work thanks to Newcastle Building Society

A charity has unveiled plans for a new employability project to support black and minority ethnic people find work.

The International Community Organisation of Sunderland (ICOS) received a grant of £2,941 from the Newcastle Building Society to set up the project.

It will provide one-to-one work, education and training support for 25 local people over the next 12 months, focusing on overcoming barriers that can prevent migrants and people from ethnic minorities from getting into the workplace.

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Those supported by the project will get the skills and knowledge they need to get jobs they want, helping to improve their financial situation and general well-being.

ICOS manager Michal Chantkowski says: “As well as facing the same issues that everyone looking for work has to address, the people we’re supporting have to overcome a range of additional barriers that can stop them get into the workplace.

“This can be anything from having the required language skills and putting together a job application to understanding how the interview process works and knowing how they might get to their workplace if they get the job they’re going for.

“We’re providing one-to-one support for each of our service users that’s tailored to their individual needs and trying to connect them to opportunities that will enable them to fulfil their potential and build better lives.

“As a small charity, it’s difficult for us to fund all the different activities that we’d like to undertake, and without Newcastle Building Society’s generous support, we wouldn’t have been able to take on a project that we hope will make a real difference to the well-being of dozens of families around our city.”

The project funding is being provided through the Newcastle Building Society’s Community Fund at the Community Foundation, which offers grants to charities and community groups located in or around the communities served by the Society’s branch network.

The building society has been directing its support this year to a range of projects tackling issues linked to employability, as part of its commitments to help communities recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

Newcastle Building Society, on Northumberland Street
Newcastle Building Society, on Northumberland Street
(Image: ncjMedia)

David Pearson, area manager at Newcastle Building Society, adds: “As our communities recover from the impact of the pandemic we felt it was important to focus our grant giving where it will have the greatest long-term impact and support people right across our region.

“ICOS’s commitment to people living in its communities is extremely impressive and we’re proud to be supporting their work to improve outcomes for families in Sunderland.”

ICOS was founded in 2009, and works to improve the quality of BAME people in the North East, and to “enhance community cohesion and intercultural understanding.”

Since its launch in 2016, Newcastle Building Society’s Community Fund has also contributed over £2.1m in grants and partnerships to a wide variety of charities and projects across the region, including the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and the Prince’s Trust.

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Chronicle Live – Sunderland