July marked both the 1-year anniversary of the Restart Scheme as well as the Sheffield CFO Activity Hub. Throughout the month, our different teams across South Yorkshire and the Northwest have been showcasing their successes since the programmes began.

At the start of the month, our Greater Manchester offices joined together to host a day of celebrations at The Lowry in Salford. In the morning, the team discussed the successes of Restart, what the future looks like for the scheme and what the team needs to do to achieve further success. The afternoon was filled with staff appreciation and an award ceremony for our committed teams and colleagues who deliver the scheme on a day-to-day basis.

Our Restart colleagues over in South Yorkshire hosted a showcase event at the Showroom cinema in Sheffield this month. The event was a chance for colleagues to promote the areas they work within and shout about their successes over the past 12 months. The presentations covered our United for Ukraine offer, the Restart Scheme, our offer to employers, the bespoke packages we have on offer, an interview with an ex-participant who is now employed at the Growth Company and finally a talk from Elizabeth Taylor, ERSA Chief Executive.

Elizabeth Taylor, Chief Executive at ERSA said this about The Growth Company:

“I think that what GC are doing is great, they’re consistently embedded into the communities they work within and work towards a clear set of positive values.”

Staff at the CFO Activity Hub in Sheffield also held an event for all participants and advisors to attend. The event was an engaging afternoon consisting not only of a presentation of certificates and awards to our participants, but also a showcase of the fabulous work that has been created by our participants since the Hub opened a year ago.

Since the Sheffield Activity Hub opened in 2021, there has been over 120 sessions held for participants to attend. Between September 2021 and March 2022, the Hub ran 67 sessions. From April 2022 to now there has been 60 sessions held – this goes to show the increasing demand that the Hub has. Over the past year, participants have produced: 3 murals, 3 podcast episodes, 1 story book, 1 audiobook, 1 film, 9 Picasso portraits, 1 welcome wreath, miles worth of knitting and lots of music.

Interactive stands were set up by the team around the room, giving participants the opportunity to show their creative and varied skills in music, drawing/crafts, creative writing, and knitting – these are activities that are readily available at the Hub. Later in the day, advisors encouraged some of their participants to speak out about their experiences with the Hub and how the team have helped to change the lives of a lot of people on probation. The day finished with an awards presentation expressing the gratitude that our colleagues have for the participants that continue to show up to the Hub’s sessions week in, week out.

We deliver the Restart Scheme across the North of England on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions. It is a government Scheme providing up to 12 months of enhanced support to help you find a job in your local area. It's designed to break down any employment barriers that could be holding you back from finding work.

The Yorkshire CFO Activity Hubs give people the support they need to get back on track. Part funded by the European Social Fund, the CFO Activity Hubs aim to overcome some of the barriers that make

it difficult for individuals to access support in areas such as education, skills development and employability. These barriers include low-level literacy; drug and alcohol abuse; fractured or poor educational experiences; motivational issues; family breakdown; intergenerational effects of offending; chaotic lifestyles; impact of offending and anti-social behaviour upon family and wider communities.