A NEW initiative to train vulnerable women has been launched on Wearside.
Social Enterprise Lydia’s House has opened a new workshop in Sunderland.
Staff from Sunderland Council, Gentoo, the Big Lottery and the Probation Service were among those there to show their support for the High Street East project.
Lydia’s House gives its trainees opportunities to get involved in furniture restoration, framing and textiles, in a bid to gain employment skills, confidence and qualifications.
They come from a wide range of backgrounds, including ex-offenders and women who may have had problems securing jobs in the past.
It also offers a bespoke interior design service to customers, which include Liberty’s, Fenwick, Stanhope Castle and country manors.
Catherine Trillo, chief executive of Lydia’s House, said: “It’s fantastic. There’s lots of people who have connections with us and we are looking to strengthen those relationships.
“We now need people to come in for work opportunities and to continue with growth of the company. We will continue to evolve to provide the best service we can. It’s all about the people at the end of it all.”
The Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Iain Kay, performed the official opening and said he was impressed by the building and its workshops.
“The range of opportunities available here is very impressive,” he said.
“They have an excellent range of equipment and the people doing the training are experts in what they do.”
He added: “In terms of this niche in the market, this is very much a welcome addition for the city in supporting vulnerable women to become more stable and build a future for themselves.”
Lydia’s House was awarded a £200,000 grant which allowed it to open the Eagle Building workshop.
Kevin Curry, funding officer for the Big Lottery, said the day had been a great success.
“I think the launch has been fantastic,” he said. “It’s great reflection of the hard work that Catherine and the other staff had put in.”