Cornerstone are able to 'set up shop' thanks to a grant of 4,300

19 February 2014

Cornerstone Supported Housing and Counselling Ltd have officially ‘set up shop’ in a new, larger capacity facility in Low Willington Industrial Estate. A grant of £4,300 was awarded to Cornerstone, enabling the charity to accommodate the increased demand of their services.

Cornerstone is a charity based in Willington, County Durham which aims to relieve poverty, hardship, and distress in particular by the provision of accommodation support and counselling for vulnerable people, including ex-offenders, who are homeless or suffering great poverty. As a part of their work to help people rebuild their lives and reconnect positively with the community, they run a joinery workshop where service users learn woodwork and carpentry skills and make furniture to sell. The workshop enables users to gain confidence, interpersonal skills and qualifications to secure longer term work.

Since starting in 2012, the workshop has proved a huge success, requiring Cornerstone to move to the larger facility to accommodate the increased demand from the long-term unemployed. The funding provided will assist the charity with workshop set-up costs and maintenance of the new facility. It is expected that at least 85 service users will use the workshop facility, with 70% achieving qualifications to add to their employment portfolios. Currently, Cornerstone have a 70% non- reoffending rate for users who engage in their services for longer than 3 weeks and with this funding they expect that figure to grow to 80%.

This is quite significant for an area that has the 3rd highest rate in the North East of people unemployed for longer than 12 months and the 3rd highest rate of people with no qualifications.

Steve Vasey, Project Manager at Cornerstone Supported Housing and Counselling Ltd said:

“We are grateful to County Durham Community Foundation for the grant allowing us to expand our workshop project as well as the local community who have really got behind the Cornerstone initiative. Our experience has shown that vulnerable people and those most at risk of homelessness tend to lead chaotic lifestyles, and conventional training methods do not address the clients’ core entrenched issues before moving them on gradually. Our workshop aims to address this by providing a more holistic approach focused on aspiration and self-worth.”