The £5million regeneration project to rejuvenate part of Penhill has brought not just new homes and shops to the area, but new employment and training opportunities for 25 local people too, thanks to a new scheme called ‘4ward2work’.
Swindon Borough Council and Westlea Housing, part of the GreenSquare housing group, are working in partnership on the Braydon Court redevelopment project, to include three new shops and 38 affordable homes.
Building work began there last April and almost half the new homes are now occupied. A new McColls convenience store opened in October and the two remaining retail units are expected to be open in May. The affordable housing is a mixture of 31 properties for rent, which will be advertised on the council’s Choice Based Lettings system, and seven homes for ‘part rent, part buy’, or shared ownership.
A notable aspect of the construction process at Braydon Court has been the launch of GreenSquare’s ‘4ward2work’ initiative; this is designed to link with each of the housing group’s new development schemes and sets targets for the use oflocal labour and the offer of apprenticeships.
Phil Bowley, Head of Regeneration for GreenSquare, said: “4ward2work will ensure that tackling worklessness is always prioritised as part of our construction process and result in many new opportunities for local people.
“Already at Braydon Court, 25 local people have worked on the construction of new homes. And looking ahead, over the next three years we hope to offer 92 labour places; 24 one-day business training places; 48 one-day basic health and safety training for local communities; and 21 apprenticeships through our ongoing development programme.
“Launching the scheme as part of our work at Braydon Court seemed ideal as that project is so obviously about more than just new shops and homes. It is about breathing new life into the neighbourhood, and we’re proud to be part of that process.”
Vic O’Brien, Group Development Director for GreenSquare, said: “This project has been some years in the making so we’re all excited that it’s now well under way. From the outset, Westlea Housing has worked alongside Swindon Borough Council – and directly with local residents - so it feels great to see the project nearly complete.”
Cllr David Renard, Swindon Cabinet Member for Health, Housing and Adult Social Care, said: “I am really pleased this project is coming together and residents are already enjoying living on the new site. We have worked hard to improve the facilities in Braydon Court and I’m sure it will be of great benefit to the community when the whole scheme is finally completed in the coming months.”