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Changing Lives employment service is delivered across the North East and York in conjunction with Business in the Community’s ‘Ready for Work’ programme. The service helps people with some of the biggest barriers to the job market to get employment ready and secure sustainable jobs. We also work with businesses to provide quality placements.

The employment service delivers a powerful support package to help people from a range of backgrounds and with a variety of skills and experiences get back in to work. We work with people over the age of 18 years old who’ve experienced homelessness and other forms of disadvantage.

We offer our beneficiaries:

  • pre-employment training
  • motivation and confidence building
  • work placements
  • job coaching
  • CV writing and interview skills
  • on-going support, including advice and signposting

Since it’s launch in 2010, Changing Lives employment service has successfully supported more than 400 clients. Client careers have included roles in IT, finance and construction in a wide variety of supporting businesses.

We offer specialist support to veterans who are re-entering civilian life as well as having a tailored employment strategy for young people.


Our BEAT (Benefits, Employment and Action Team) service works in Newcastle, Gateshead and Northumberland across local community hubs including libraries, job centres and food banks.

BEAT work closely with people of all ages to help with pre-employment skills, offering advice about benefits and aiming to get people back into employment. They can offer support with a number of issues including sanctions and being at risk of homelessness, digital inclusion, advice with money, calculating benefit pay and help with making benefit claims. The team can also make referrals to other specialists such as mental health services.

Step Forward Tees Valley

Step Forward Tees Valley is an employment partnership new for 2016 that supports local people to overcome the complex reasons preventing them from finding work. These barriers could include physical or mental ill-health, a lack of self-confidence, a gap in skills, a conviction, or an addiction.

The project helps people to build on their strengths and aspirations, using the skills and expertise of partners and local employers to achieve their goals. The project is committed to making a real and lasting change in Tees Valley.

Over three years, Step Forward Tees Valley will work with 2,500 people across Tees Valley by supporting them to take advantage of existing voluntary or employment possibilities, as well as working with local employers to create new opportunities.

Step Forward Tees Valley is joint-funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund, as part of their investment in local projects that tackle the root causes of poverty and promote social inclusion. Find out more at www.sfteesvalley.co.uk

Reaching Out Across Durham (ROAD)

Reaching Out Across Durham (ROAD) brings together 12 well respected voluntary and community service organisations, including Changing Lives, who want to make a real difference to the lives of 625people who live in County Durham and are aged 25 and over. We will achieve this by providing 1 to 1 intensive support that encourages and enables participants to achieve their goals as they move towards and into job search, employment, education and training.

Participants will receive 1 to 1 support from a range of health and finance specialists as well as access to a range of training and vocational courses and guidance, support and advice on any area needed to enable participants to make positive choices.

ROAD is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund until July 2019, and is a Building Better Opportunities (BBO) programme.


Businesses as Part of The Solution

Businesses which work with the Changing Lives employment service include Waitrose, Sage Software, Rocket Medical, Marks and Spencer, Procter and Gamble,  Royal Mail, Stagecoach and Greggs. These partnerships are central to the success of the scheme, providing employment mentors and buddies as well as practical training tools and resources. Our matching service for employers ensures we connect the right clients with the right business – and that’s demonstrated by our great employment outcomes.

For more information please contact:

Val Chybowski, Employment Services Manager t: 07506744928 or e: val.chybowski@changing-lives.org.uk

I first started with Changing Lives Employment Service to help me gain confidence, self belief and practical skills like interview techniques to get a job. A vacancy came up and I got the job! It was an immense feeling - very emotional, not just for me but my family too. The staff encouraged me to believe in myself - that was very important. I now feel, in society, that I’m equal. I can lift my head up and be proud of myself.

“Thank you for your hard work in and out of the class. I’ve taken away from these lessons lots of useful tips on approaching job interviews. You made me, and what I can see from the others, totally at ease in the first session and made me want to come back for the  rest of the course with your friendly attitude towards us. Always wearing a smile on your faces and going above and beyond what needs to be done for the group and individually. Thank you.”

– Client from our employability training in Sunderland

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Get Involved


At Changing Lives we are always looking for volunteers, people who want to make a difference. We welcome people from our own client groups, the local community, companies and businesses. Some to work on one-off projects, others with a regular commitment of time.

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