Initiative to enhance critical skills among community service front line workers launches in West Northamptonshire

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The courses, designed and delivered by professionals, cover a diverse array of topics

Northampton Hope Centre, in collaboration with Community Law Service, has launched the Community Training Partnership today (Thursday September 28) at the West Northamptonshire Health and Wellbeing Board Meeting.

The initiative, fully funded by West Northamptonshire Council, offers a range of free bite-sized courses aimed at enhancing critical skills and knowledge for those working on the front lines of community service.

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Front-line workers, including volunteers in food banks, the care sector, and various community services, often find themselves face-to-face with individuals struggling with complex issues such as mental health concerns, debt problems, rent arrears, substance misuse, or financial hardships. The launch of these courses recognizes the crucial role these individuals play in our communities and the need to equip them with the tools to better serve those in need.

Councillors and board members welcome launch of the Community Training Partnership today.Councillors and board members welcome launch of the Community Training Partnership today.
Councillors and board members welcome launch of the Community Training Partnership today.

The courses, designed and delivered by professionals, cover a diverse array of topics. They include understanding the benefits system, encouraging individuals to seek support for mental health issues, addressing debt related challenges and other topics that empower delegates to recognise issues and understand how to refer individuals to appropriate services. The courses focus on early intervention, enabling front-line workers to identify issues promptly and guide individuals toward the support they require, ultimately preventing the exacerbation of problems in the future.

Sarah Hayle, chief executive at Community Law Service said: “The cost-of-living crisis is having a major impact on households, not only financially but often emotionally too. However, there are some fantastic services and organisations locally, whose work makes a real difference. Getting residents in touch with relevant services as early as possible is vital to prevent problems escalating. Front line workers and volunteers are perfectly placed to make those connections and The Community Training Partnership is here to support them, enhance their skills, build their knowledge, and equip them with information about those excellent local services and how to access them, ensuring residents get the support they need and deserve.”

A pilot programme featuring five trial courses was conducted earlier this year, and within just three working days of their launch, all courses were fully booked. This overwhelming response, highlighting the demand for this type of support within our community.

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Councillor Matt Golby, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health at West Northamptonshire Council said: "This is a great initiative available for front line colleagues, that will really help to equip them with the knowledge and signposting information on further support and services available. These topics aim to tackle current and real issues that many residents are experiencing, and it is brilliant that we are able to work together with these key partners in helping to make this happen.”

The courses are delivered by Zoom in easily digestible 1-2 hour sessions, making them accessible to busy front-line workers. Some of the initial courses offered include Introduction to Universal Credit, Debt Advice, Mental Health and Key Conversations.

Alex Copeland, CEO at Northampton Hope Centre, added: “Volunteers and front-line workers are often the first point of contact for individuals facing challenges in our communities. Debt and mental health issues have become increasingly prevalent, particularly in the wake of the cost-of-living crisis, and we have seen a huge rise in public support in taking up volunteering and front-line roles. At Hope we have long recognised that early identification and response to people’s needs are essential for well-being and building thriving communities. Equipping front-line workers not only to recognise problems but also to know how and where to refer individuals is an important step towards this goal. Many volunteers do the work they do out of a genuine desire to help but may feel ill-equipped to do so. This initiative addresses that need. It’s inspiring to see this project launch with such a positive start.”

Courses are open to book for any front-line worker or volunteer working within the West Northamptonshire region. To book on a course visit: Login (