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Birmingham Post
Birmingham Post
Tom Keighley

North East business life: charity, community and award events in the region

NewcastleGateshead Initiative (NGI) has launched a programme to help businesses make the North East an accessible region for visitors.

Everybody Welcome, which is funded by the North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA), will deliver a free business support package to tourism and hospitality firms to help them support visitors with access requirements, both visible and hidden. Those who sign up to the scheme will be provided with training, access to a digital platform that enables visitors to source information relating to their specific needs and 360-degree filming for some venues which will give visitors change to plan their trips.

Sarah Green, chief executive of NGI said: "Everybody Welcome will help to drive our ambition and that of the region’s to achieve the accessibility agenda across the visitor economy, celebrating and driving quality in the tourism sector. It will help those taking part to increase their share of the UK’s £15.3bn ‘accessible tourism’ market by improving experiences for visitors across the region, also benefiting our local communities

"By training frontline staff in our visitor and hospitality venues, as well as developing a way for consumers to liaise directly with businesses on their requirements before they arrive, we can become the UK’s most accessible region and further increase our visitor offer."

Read more: BBC, ITV and Channel 4 execs to speak at Newcastle creative conference

Resolve Care's team leader Ann Hancock (left) and director and service manager Anne Graham. (Resolve Care)

Residential care provider Resolve Care has been recognised by the National Autistic Society for excellent autism provision.

The County Durham firm has secured the Autism Specialist Award Advanced Accreditation in recognition of staff's specialist approaches to support which is tailored to individual abilities, interests, preferences and challenges. Anne Graham, director and service manager at Resolve Care said: "We are delighted to be given Advanced Accreditation status which builds upon the Accredited status we achieved previously. This recognises the hard work and dedication of everyone at Resolve Care and we are proud to be able to offer the highest quality of care to the people we support with autism."

The National Autistic Society’s Autism Accreditation programme was launched over 25 years ago and sets extremely high standards, which the provision has worked incredibly hard to meet. Stephen Dedridge, accreditation manager at the National Autistic Society, said: "There are approximately 700,000 autistic adults and children in the UK, as well as their three million family members and carers.

"Autism is a spectrum condition. This means autistic people have their own strengths and varying and complex needs, from 24-hour care to simply needing clearer communication and a little longer to do things at work and school. Without the right support or understanding, autistic people can miss out on an education, struggle to find work and become extremely isolated.

"Autism Accreditation highlights good autism practice and we are very pleased to be here to mark Resolve’s achievement. It is a great thing in itself and, we believe, will inspire other organisations and services to improve the way they support autistic people."

Student Luke Picken fits thermal insulation to a test rig, watched by TICA trainee tutor/assessor Ashley McDowell. (TICA)

Students from Bishop Auckland College visited the Darlington-based national training centre of thermal insulation industry trade body TICA.

Twenty students toured the Thermal Insulation Contractors Association facility over two days as part of the Build UK Open Doors initiative, designed to highlight the wealth of career options within the construction industry. During their visits, the students, who are taking courses in painting and decorating, construction skills, and bricklaying, were briefed by TICA instructors, and spoke with Level 3 apprentices attending the centre from across the UK.

They were also given an opportunity to cut and shape thermal insulation and fit it to the test rigs used by TICA apprentices as part of their training. Helen Anderson, the trade association’s head of learning, said: "Thermal insulation is not something that readily springs to mind when considering a career in construction. However, there is huge demand from employers for skilled apprentices being fuelled by a rise in construction projects and a shift towards improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions.”

Michelle Andelin, head of school for construction at Bishop Auckland College, said: "Previously our students have visited construction sites as part of the Open Doors initiative, but this year we wanted to highlight different career pathways available within the sector. Our students listened to the experiences of former and current TICA apprentices, the opportunities available, as well as picking up a few practical skills."

Chief executive Bianca Robinson (centre) with participants and partners of the Middlesbrough sleepout. (CEO Sleepout)

CEO Sleepout is returning to home turf this month to mark the 10th anniversary of the charity initiative.

The Middlesbrough-founded scheme will come to the Riverside Stadium on March 30 where it is hoped 100 businesspeople will support homelessness by spending a night sleeping out in the cold. Organisers hope to raise £50,000 to support homelessness in the region

Chief executive of the charity Bianca Robinson said the money raised will boost organisations that help families on the brink of destitution and homelessness across the Tees Valley. She said: "I am so excited to bring CEO Sleepout back to where it all began, the Riverside Stadium, for our 10th anniversary."

CEO Sleepout was launched 10 years ago by now Middlesbrough mayor Andy Preston through the charity he co-founded with Tanya Garland, The Teesside Charity, formerly known as the Teesside and Middlesbrough Philanthropic Foundation. This year’s event is in partnership with Middlesbrough FC Foundation, The Teesside Charity and the Poverty Hurts Appeal (CDCF). Funds raised from the sleepout will also support several other initiatives from across the region, including TRAC UK, Recovery Connections and Moses Project.

The North of Tyne Combined Authority and BeaconHouse Events is running an event to encourage the North East business community to think about how growth can be linked to the Good Work Pledge.

The May 23 date at INNSiDE by Meliá Newcastle is open to North East businesses and will feature discussion about how growth can be fuelled by doing good and share best practice. Caroline Preston, who leads the Good Work Pledge project for the authority said, "The work place has changed and sustainable growth now needs to be a top agenda item. This event is a way for businesses to discuss how we can pull together as a community and encourage good practice as a means to grow, retain staff and attract the next generation of talent to our North East businesses.

"The North East currently has the highest rate of child poverty in the UK at 38% and 75% of families that fall within that figure have at least one person working. We need to act now as a business community to make work better for everyone.

"We have an amazing spirit here in the North East and many businesses are working hard to make sure their employees are happy, healthy, and well rewarded but we need to do more. Poor employment can have a really detrimental effect on our communities, these jobs are low paid, often unreliable and offer zero or minimal additional benefits. Worse still these low paid jobs are often done by the very people who keep us supplied with food, who look after our loved ones and keep us moving.

"While there are many factors that affect this, businesses do have a part to play when to comes to offering opportunities to progress, flexible working so families can juggle childcare or other responsibilities, promoting health and wellbeing and proving security for their people wherever possible."


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