A tenacious Redcar man has secured employment after spending time volunteering at Coast & Country’s Westfield Farm.
Brian Atkinson was introduced to Westfield Farm by Redcar & Cleveland Volunteer Development Agency and immediately agreed to help out with garden maintenance for a couple of days a week. He also took advantage of the varied courses available and Coast & Country’s Forging Futures programme.
Located in Dormanstown, ‘The Farm’ is a one-stop-shop that provides the kind of high-quality advice, guidance, training and support that helps people get back into work. The facility is also a UK Online Centre, which gives people access to the Internet. It also offers digital training for all levels of ability.
Brian volunteered in the Farm’s Tenant Resource Centre IT suite reception, learning basic admin skills and building up confidence, which enabled him to support others with job searches and CV advice.
He also joined Friends of Westfield Farm and took a more active role in planning events and raising awareness of the facilities available, particularly for job-seekers.
This has all paid off for Brian who has been offered a contract with Coast & Country as part of its Estate team.
Brian has left a lasting legacy at Westfield Farm, sketching a cartoon of volunteers which proudly hangs on the front door.
Barry McBride, Westfield Farm Co-ordinator, said: “When I was first introduced to Brian his enthusiasm shone out. He has turned his hand to several roles and shown a real appetite for learning new skills.
“He’s been a real star and thoroughly deserves this chance.”
Brian said: “I’m so grateful to Barry and everyone at Westfield Farm. I’ve learnt so much and had a lot of fun and to have landed a job with Coast & Country is absolutely fantastic.
“I’d absolutely recommend volunteering.”
Photo: Brian Atkinson.