A Heathfield firm has won the title ‘Local Partner of the Year’ from national employment charity Tomorrow’s People.
Frogheath Landscapes received the award at a ceremony at the Jumeirah Carlton Hotel in Knightsbridge, London, on Thursday.
Tomorrow’s People works to help young people get and keep a job and this is its 30th year. They have helped more than 470,000 people on their journey into work since 1984.
Frogheath owners Steve and Alison Moody took on their first Tomorrow’s People participant in 2012. He had no previous work experience and they supported him through a horticultural apprenticeship. They have gone on to employ four more people through apprenticeships.
The company offered these positions to young people taking part in Heathfield Works! - a ten week programme focused on unemployed young people in isolated rural areas.
Frogheath arranges lifts for those living in the countryside, often collecting them from home themselves, arranging paid for driving lessons in exchange for working a few extra hours and allowing use of company transport.
Frances Conway, Heathfield adviser, said: “For a small company they have made an incredible effort, recently arranging a bespoke five year apprenticeship that opens up several avenues of work, rather than just horticulture, to ensure their future. They were also included in major projects such as the Chelsea Flower Show.”
Steve Moody said: “We have always been passionate about the future of the younger generation and wherever possible we give work and training opportunities. For many years we have supported local young people and since Heathfield Works! started we have had a very close working relationship with them, taking on five of their participants.”
Tim Dinnage, 18, from Heathfield, now works at Frogheath Landscapes and won the Michael Guthrie Award for outstanding achievement from Tomorrow’s People this year. Tim had been homeless, been excluded from two schools and was known to the police. In two weeks of signing up to Heathfield Works! he changed his life and took on voluntary work at Frogheath Landscapes.
He said: “Without Heathfield Works! I dread to think where I’d be now. I love my job and look forward to going to work and getting paid. In just a year I have an ISA, an apprenticeship qualification, am preparing to take my driving test soon, am getting on better with my family, have somewhere to stay and I pay my bills. I have a future. I’m really happy.”