We're aware that the affordability of local rented housing is a major factor in homelessness across the borough, and being in work is core to local households being able to afford to rent a home in the local area.
Whilst unemployment is low within the borough, there are many households living in council provided emergency temporary accommodation who just cannot afford the comparatively high housing costs of this area as they are either unemployed or in low paid or fragile employment.
Recognising we all need some help sometimes, we have announced the establishment of a new skills hub, hosted within the Epsom Job Centre Plus. The skills hub will deliver training and support in partnership with Surrey Life Long Learning. Those attending the skills hub will be able to access support and training, tailored to their specific needs to help them either get into employment or better employment.
A rolling programme of tutor led and/or online workshops will be provided and, depending on the individuals’ needs, these could include literacy, numeracy, language and digital training plus business start-up and self-employment guidance and money management coaching.
We have long recognised the need to assist households in seeking work. Our ETHOS project assists the unemployed and those at risk of unemployment to find suitable employment opportunities, creating effective CVs and developing their interview techniques. In developing the skills necessary for the workplace, the skills hub will support the work ETHOS does in getting people into employment.
Councillor Eber Kington, Chairman of the Strategy & Resources Committee, said “residents of Epsom and Ewell live in an area with high educational attainment, fantastic employment opportunities and good connectivity with London and the rest of the country. We believe all our residents should benefit from the success of the borough and have the opportunity to access good quality employment. The skills hub initiative will help a small minority of residents who need additional assistance into better employment, helping to make day to day living costs, including the cost of accommodation, more affordable.”
It is anticipated that the financial investment in the skills hub will be more than matched by the reduced cost to the council of emergency temporary housing if just a few people gain meaningful employment and are able to afford the rent of a home in the borough.