Why the future is looking brighter for Newcastle women struggling to find work; Pottery Bank Community Centre has launched a project to help unemployed Tyneside women boost their confidence and skills.
Byline: Katie Dickinson
A scheme designed to help unemployed Tyneside women find work has launched in Newcastle.
Over the next three years, Pottery Bank Community Centre in Walker is aiming to help at least 300 women in the area find jobs.
The project, known as 'Walker Women', has been funded with a [pounds sterling]370,000 Lottery grant.
Board director Kathryn Davidson said: "The scheme will focus on women who are disengaged through unemployment.
"We want to help them gain the self esteem, skills and experience they need to be better able to find a route out of benefit dependency and become more financially independent."
The second in a series of 'Taster Days' was held at Pottery Bank this week, where women had the chance to sign up for employability courses, including help with writing CVs and filling out job applications.
A six-week programme starting on April 11 will also include classes on IT skills, first aid, sewing skills and arts and crafts.
One of those who attended was 28-year-old Sarah McAlpine, who has been unemployed for six years, since having her daughter Gracie May.
"I've been looking for work but it's so hard to get jobs that fit in around school hours," said Sarah.
"It's really boring not having work -- you can't do anything, you can't make money. You just hang about all day."
Sarah signed up for courses in cookery, beauty and art, saying: "I'm hoping this could help me get a job -- if you do beauty you can go self-employed so I could still be around for my daughter before and after school."
In addition, participants will spend time in the centre's allotment, volunteering in the community cafe and receive cookery classes and food hygiene training.
Mrs Davidson said: "We've had a great response so far -- the majority of the women attending the Taster Days have been in their early 20s to mid 30s.
"Many of them are saying that they had bad experiences at school and wish they'd put more time in to getting qualifications and results."
Pottery Bank Community Centre staff at the Walker Women Taster Day
Women learning sewing skills at the Walker Women Taster Day