Pathway scheme means more jobs for Hartlepool

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A GROWING scheme which helps people with learning disabilities is expanding and hoping to create more than 50 new jobs.

Pathways to Independence, which was founded six years ago in Hartlepool by sisters Christine Fewster and Tracey Garrett, is already growing by opening a new independent living scheme in Park Road.

Graeme Lee and Christine Fewster

Graeme Lee and Christine Fewster

Pathways plan to double their workforce from 55 people to around 110. Pathways provides support for adults with a range of disabilities including autism, behavioural distress, and mental health issues.

So far, its help has included short break holidays, support through carers, trained staff, help in peoples’ own home and one-to-one and group help.

But Christine, who is also the service manager, said: “We now have a great team behind us to help expand our services and provide person-centred services.”

In November 2013, Pathways to Independence sold its shares to the Springfield Healthcare Group. Teamwork between the two organisations, leading to the new facility – which includes self-contained apartments – being set up in a Grade 2 listed building.

Christine added: “I am proud to be part of such a great organisation and help shape services for our young people for the future as well as support our current clients to achieve their goals and dreams.”

Yesterday’s grand opening was described by Christine as “a huge development as we are expanding services that we provide to local people.”

Springfield group chief executive Graeme Lee said: “It was Christine and Tracey who inspired us to invest in Hartlepool in this supported living model. Hartlepool is our main pilot scheme and since we have been here, we have found nothing but positives.”

The new facility was opened by Hartlepool Borough Council deputy leader Carl Richardson, deputy Mayor Mary Fleet and consort Coun Sheila Griffin.

As well the drop-in facility, it will have five, two bedroomed self contained apartments and a one bed apartment.