£500,000 boost for Finding Futures project

Manager Philippa White with Andree Ralph
Manager Philippa White with Andree Ralph

A CHARITY project which works with vulnerable unemployed people is celebrating after it received nearly half a million pounds from the Lottery.

Finding Futures, based in Havelock Road, helps people who are struggling to get a job for whatever reason and who may have housing issues because of their precarious financial situation. It also runs a specialist education programme for 14- to 16-year-olds who have been expelled, overseen by the Brighton Housing Trust (BHT) charity.

Finding Futures manager Philippa White was bowled over by the £497,000 grant which will bankroll the project for the foreseeable future.

She told the Observer: “It will enable us to continue to provide this much needed service to vulnerable people in the Hastings area, which offers both opportunities and support to help people turn their lives around. In an area where there can be so much focus on poverty and disadvantage this is a very welcome boost.”

Since it launched in 2008, Finding Futures has helped an estimated 300 people, and Mrs White said that although her team’s work was challenging, it was hugely rewarding to get people into a job, education or training.

“Many of the people who come to us don’t have a foot on the ladder of success – some don’t even know that there is a ladder.

“When they come to Finding Futures we help them climb that ladder and what I love about my work is the enthusiasm and sense of achievement that each learner brings.”

Her joy was echoed by Andy Winter, chief executive of the BHT, who underlined that the ethos of the project is to focus on what people can do rather than what they can’t do.

“What’s fantastic about Finding Futures is that it has ambitions for its learners - there is nothing of the ‘poor me’ syndrome in the way it works,” he said.

“The trainers identify the strengths of individuals and builds on them so that the learners can go on to achieve great things.

“The funding from the Big Lottery means that the next five years are secure and we will see great things from both the learners and the service alike,” he added.