A new regeneration project to support people experiencing homelessness in Newcastle has created new construction jobs for local young people, who were struggling to find employment.

Liam Bennett (20) and Jack Moore (20) have recently been employed as General Operatives at supported accommodation project Elliott House. Their roles will involve supporting on the construction site, making sure the site is in good order and machinery and equipment is well maintained.

The new positions were created thanks to a partnership between Meldrum Construction and Changing Lives.

Jack Moore said: “Since being given this opportunity by Changing Lives and Meldrum, I have gained an extraordinary amount of confidence not only in myself but also in my line of work. I have also received exceptional support and feedback from all levels of Meldrum.”

Cheryl James, Group HR & Marketing Director at Meldrum Group, said “We understand the difficulty some individuals face in getting work experience or employment particularly if they have a gap in their CV or they have never been employed. We believe in making a difference and wanted to help some of those struggling to build a new future for themselves. Through Changing Lives, we have supported two young men back into employment. It is a great way to not only give something back but to ‘grow your own talent’ – something we’re extremely passionate about.”

Meldrum Construction Services were appointed as main contractor to deliver their regeneration of Elliott House. The regeneration project was made possible thanks to £2.2m of funding from Homes England and support from Newcastle City Council. The 52-bed hostel which offered short term emergency accommodation for people in crisis housing situations will be transformed into 36 self-contained apartments for those individuals who have experienced difficult times. This will give people the opportunity to live independently within the community, to lead a stable and fulfilling life.

Changing Lives is a national organisation, supporting individuals who are facing challenging times to make positive change. The support offered is a foundation for those individuals to start building a better, sustainable future for themselves. Set up almost 50 years ago, Changing Lives provides a wide range of support for people from all walks of life.

Stephen Bell, Chief Executive at Changing Lives: “One of the most important lessons we’ve learnt at Changing Lives over the last 50 years is that housing and employment go hand-in-hand in helping someone to change their life. The re-development of Elliott House will allow us to provide everyone living there with their own front door, alongside support to help them achieve their training and employment goals.

“It was important to us to work with a developer who shared our values and commitment to supporting people in Newcastle. I am delighted that Liam and Jack have been appointed by Meldrum to work on the redevelopment project. This follows a great tradition within Changing Lives of providing training opportunities on our major refurbishment projects and I hope that the valuable experience they will gain will enable them both to secure permanent jobs within the construction industry.”

Meldrum has employed over 140 trainees and apprentices over its nearly 20-year history. Founded in 2001 by Dave Meldrum, Meldrum Construction Services was set up after deciding there had to be a different way to do construction. Dave Meldrum said “We like to work closely, in partnership with our clients to achieve the best project for all involved. We offer ‘building solutions with integrity’ which to us means doing the right thing in the right way, this has resulted in repeat business with many of our clients. Our Core Values are not something we put on a wall, they are lived and breathed in the business, so working with clients who share our values and culture is a key factor for us.

We are thrilled to be able to work so closely with Changing Lives and to be able to offer a fresh start for Liam and Jack, we’re really proud to have them on the team.”

Elliott House is due for completion in May 2021.

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