In one of his last civic engagements the outgoing Mayor of Kirklees Clr Nigel Patrick honoured the work of a business scheme helping people who have experienced homelessness in Kirklees get back into employment.
The mayor invited The Howarth Foundation to Huddersfield Town Hall to recognise the work they do. The foundation runs its Business Building Futures programme to connect previously homeless individuals with businesses and employment opportunities.
The charity – which to date has helped secure employment for more than 30 individuals who have experienced sofa surfing or have been homeless – is the brainchild of Andy Howarth, businessman and founder of Cleckheaton-based HR, employment law and health and safety consultancy, Howarths.
The event also recognised the contribution of Kirklees Stadium Development Limited (KSDL) to the success of the scheme. The organisation, which runs The John Smith’s Stadium in Huddersfield, is a long-standing supporter of the Business Building Futures programme and has employed Lacey, who has experience of homelessness, at the stadium.
Speaking at the civic reception, the mayor said: “To their credit, Howarths – through The Howarth Foundation – are using their knowledge, expertise and contacts to help homeless people in Kirklees find work.
“Many of the people referred to The Howarth Foundation as ready for work would otherwise struggle to get to interview stage. But, The Howarth Foundation succeeds in finding work for about one person each month.”
Andy Howarth, CEO at The Howarth Foundation, said: “We are honoured to be received by the mayor and recognised for the work that we and our Business Building Futures members deliver to support people who have experienced homelessness back into work.
“Employers like Gareth Davies, managing director at KSDL, are a shining example of how investing time, energy and patience into supporting someone with a chaotic background back into work can really pay off and change the life of that individual while also gaining an employee who is dedicated, committed and really values the second chance at life.”
Mr Davies explained: “It has been a pleasure for KSDL as an organisation to support The Howarth Foundation through the Business Building Futures programme, and through myself as a board member at The Howarth Foundation.
“Supporting Lacey’s journey and progression – from when she joined us as a cleaner to her now becoming a full-time receptionist and well-loved team member – has been hugely rewarding for myself personally, and for everyone Lacey works with at KSDL.
“I would encourage any business or organisation in Kirklees to speak with The Howarth Foundation to see how they can become involved, be it as a fundraising partner, or by working closely with Andy, Natalie and the wider Howarths team to support an individual into a job within their company.
Mr Howarth concluded: “We are always looking for more partners like KSDL; businesses that care and that want to work with us, the local authorities and organisations to give someone the opportunity to have what many of us tend to take for granted – a home and a job.”
Other well-known regional businesses that have employed people through The Howarth Foundation’s Business Building Futures programme include Leeds United Football Club, Ringways Motor Group, and Howard Civil Engineering.