A leading criminologist and police chief sung the praises of a team of ex-offenders and recovering addicts as they unveiled a Blackpool building they have transformed.
The team at Jobs, Friends and Houses, a community interest company offering employment, accommodation and peer support to adults in recovery, have renovated a once derelict four-storey property into three luxury apartments.
The company’s flagship development on Springfield Road, North Shore was visited by more than 200 people on Friday, including a boss from NHS England, staff from the Department for Communities and Local Government and Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).
Jobs, Friends and Houses trains marginalised adults in trades or health and social care professions while offering accommodation and friendship to those in recovery from addiction, offending, mental health problems or homelessness.
The property has been skilfully renovated, boasting built-in sound systems and stylish furnishings, led by qualified tradesmen who train the team while they complete accredited apprenticeships through Blackpool and The Fylde College.
Kate Davies, head of health and justice, armed forces and public health at NHS England, said: “Blackpool should be incredibly proud of Jobs, Friends and Houses.
Blackpool should be incredibly proud of Jobs, Friends and Houses
“It’s about people having opportunities to have jobs, homes, positive relationships and a good future. It is proof that from tiny acorns mighty oaks grow.”
Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner said: “JFH reduces demand for police interventions but more importantly it is changing people’s lives.”
Prof David Best, a leading criminologist conducting an independent study into JFH, said: “It is such a privilege and a pleasure to be part of the JFH journey. It is genuinely new and innovative.
“Its transformational not only for the buildings but also the team, people’s attitudes and beliefs about recovery and also for Blackpool.”
The open day gave friends and family of team members as well as council bosses, business leaders, suppliers and health professionals chance to see the finished product of JFH.
JFH is now renovating more properties across Blackpool to be tenanted out through JFH Lettings, which offers unique tenancy support to residents. Visit: www.jobsfriendshouses.org.uk.