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Portland Pathways scoops top community award

Posted onPosted on 30th Nov

A community project that aims to give vulnerable people better futures — and has helped others during the coronavirus pandemic — has won a prestigious business award.

Portland Pathways, launched by Mansfield’s Portland College in 2017, was crowned winner of the Community Impact Award at the Nottinghamshire Business Awards, held by East Midlands Chamber.

The college said the “wonderful recognition celebrates the crucial impact that Portland Pathways continues to have on our local communities”.

The charity aims to promote independence, health and well-being, and employability to provide vulnerable people with better futures.

Portland Pathways wants to bridge the disability employment gap locally, allowing more people to benefit from more independent futures and better health and well-being through the positive impact of employment.

With hubs in Mansfield and Sutton, it supports individuals to gain employment, and helps businesses recruit the right staff for their roles.

Portland Pathways also offers a range of courses to help its clients to develop their skills and prepare for employment.

Its Recovery College courses, in partnership with the NHS, support people to improve their mental health and one-to-one counselling service enable clients to develop self-awareness and work through and address personal issues in a positive way.

The service has so far supported 157 people into employment and the college said that figure continues to grow as it strengthens relationships with local employers.

373 people have enrolled on to Recovery College courses and its has delivered 323 one-to-one counselling hours.

The initiative has so far had 782 referrals, with 76% of those people with disabilities.

Mark Dale, principal and CEO of Portland College, said, “The Pathways team really are the best at what they do and this award confirms that.

“Our vision of providing all people with disabilities with a lifetime of opportunity is not only achieved through our Further Education and care provision for young people, but in our community hubs for adults too.

“With 271 referrals to Pathways in 2019/20, the impact on our community and the local economy is clear. I’m tremendously proud of the team for leading such a successful initiative and our robust plans will ensure that we continue to support employment and economic growth within the region for years to come.

“With the current economic downturn and high unemployment rates forecast by the Government for 2021, the need for Portland Pathways has never been greater and the team continue to shine, securing nine job starts for customers in November.

“I also want to pay tribute local employer Linney, which has backed Pathways financially for all this time, and the National Lotteries Community Fund.

“If you’re an individual looking for employment, or an employer needing support with your recruitment, I urge you to contact our fantastic team, who will do everything they can to help you.”

The Chamber award is the third accolade the team has won since launching three years ago — in 2018 it won the Chad Business Award for Community Contribution, followed by the Mansfield and Ashfield 2020 Award for Commitment to the Community.

Throughout the pandemic it identified opportunities to help further by hosting the Sutton Community Foodbank Let’s All Eat programme at its Outram Street premises.

Portland Pathways said: “As a charity ourselves, we know how crucial donations are, particularly during a pandemic where resources are over-stretched, so we further supported the foodbank by donating over 2,000 meals and helped them to secure funding to continue for another year.”

If you’re looking for employment, need support to develop new skills or want to access Recovery College courses or one-to-one counselling service, get in touch with Nikki, Cheryl or Simon, email pathways@portland.ac.uk or call 01623 499193.

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