Jobs support charity under threat

A charity that has supported thousands of people to secure jobs and make life changes is facing closing down.

Wednesday, 24th July 2019, 12:30 pm
Acumen provides a wide range of services to support unemployed people in to secure employment.

Acumen Community Enterprise Development Trust’s staff have supported many thousands of East Durham residents to overcome personal barriers, develop new skills, improve their health, wellbeing and ultimately secure employment for 16 years.

In the last three months alone with – thanks to funding from The Peoples Postcode Lottery - the charity has supported 53 unemployed people into employment.

But Pat Thoms, CEO of Acumen, says they are having to consider the future of the organisation because of a shortage of cash.

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He said: “Over the last few years, we have faced a real challenge to find contracts to financially support the charity in providing these services to a point where we now face a time where very little funding is available.”

The Trusts Board, with the agreement of the senior management team, has taken the decision to cease delivery of all services from July 31- when the current contracts end – unless a donor or sponsor can be found.

If funding cannot be secured, Acumen’s main office, in Sunderland Rd, Horden, together with its walk-in support centre will close and all staff and senior management will be made redundant.

Ellen Foxton CEO of East Durham Partnership said “The Acumen and East Durham Partnership have helped create a significant number of employment opportunities.

“Acumen staff have a massof experience of employment support and the trust of a large number of local employers.

“Without Acumen in East Durham there would be a huge gap in this type of specialist employment provision.”

Martin Hudson from recruiting specialist Ranstad said: “I have had the pleasure of working with Acumen for almost 10 years and it has proved to be an important part of my recruitment needs, supplying suitable candidates with various skill sets.

“The staff work hard to help secure the right candidate for me. It is really disappointing that they have been unable to secure funding to continue the good work they do in supporting local people back into employment.”