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Grant to help city's new arrivals find their way into work

Date published: 27 April 2023

Read time: 2 minutes

Sunderland Branch Manager, Rob Boak, and our Head of IT Development, Paul Maughan stood outside of ICOS' office with their manager Michal Chantkowski and Ewelina Gil.

The International Community Organisation of Sunderland (ICOS) has received a grant of £3,000 from the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund, to support more individuals overcome the barriers to get into work.

Based in Sunderland, ICOS works to improve the quality of life of black and minority ethnic people in the North East and to enhance community cohesion and intercultural understanding.

The £3,000 grant funds a project that helps individuals overcome the barriers that can prevent them from getting into work, including language issues and understanding how to navigate unfamiliar systems.

Eighteen people have already signed up to the project, with six now in employment and others undertaking different training courses. ICOS is now looking to add to the number of people involved with its work, and is building on its links with local employers, including the North East Ambulance Service, Sunderland College, and Northumbrian Water.

This is the second time that our Society has supported ICOS with grant funding. In 2021, we awarded a grant of £2,941 to help provide one-to-one work, education and training support to around 25 local people over 12months.

ICOS manager Michal Chantkowski says: “The people that we’re supporting want to get on with finding work and building their new lives in our city, but often simply don’t know how or where to start.

“Those who’ve been granted refugee status also only have 28 days before they have to find new accommodation and move into the mainstream support system, which can be hard enough to navigate for those that know their way around it and almost impossible for people who’ve already had to deal with a huge amount of upheaval to their lives.

“This project simply wouldn’t have been possible without the funding provided by Newcastle Building Society and we’re extremely grateful for their continuing support.”

Image caption: Our Head of IT Development stood outside of ICOS' office with their manager, Michal Chantkowski and Ewelina Gil, and our Sunderland Branch Manager, Rob Boak.

Download the press release here.

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