Time to Change (West Cumbria) Project.
A few months ago I was asked the question "Why don’t they just get off their backsides and get a job?" I said "Would you give him a job?" to which he replied "Would I ek!!!". This got me thinking about looking at the situation we have in West Cumbria, the unemployment, the homeless and the crime and anti-social behaviour levels.
I came up with an idea of a project that would not only provide cheap accommodation, but would focus on employment and work skills. I began to think about all the cuts that had been made and how we have fewer services provided by the council. I thought "Why don’t the people in the project gain the social and work skills they need by providing services to the community?". This project is not about hand-outs, it will not rely on large amount of "tax payers" money. Many of us live on low incomes in this area and I hear many people feel it is unfair that they "work hard for a living" when others do not. In this project residents will be financially better off working two hours a week than not at all.
Our residents and volunteers will read the electric and gas meters weekly. If these increase, the food budget goes down and vice versa. These are real life budgeting skills and times are hard. Time to Change is about looking at our society locally and changing it for the better. I would rather see unemployed gaining work skills and experience by working voluntary on community projects than not at all. Quite honestly, they would too. Wouldn’t you?
I want to point out that only a minority of referrals will be from prison. The majority will be from the homeless departments at Copeland and Allerdale. Here is a quote and something to think about in relation to people who leave prison.
"When someone leaves prison, we send them back onto the streets with £46 quid in their pockets. Back to the same streets. Back to the same groups of people. Back to the same chaotic life styles. Back to the same habits as before. So why are we surprised when so many commit crime all over again? It costs the economy at least £9.5 billion a year. It blights communities and ruins lives. It’s a national scandal."
Rr Hon Chris Grayling, Secretary of State of Justice