Working Futures, a London-based programme that supports people with mental health problems into employment, has made it through to the regional shortlist for a national award that celebrates the best community projects.

The Peter Bedford Housing Association service, delivered in partnership with East Potential (part of the East Thames Group), Hillside Clubhouse and Thames Reach, and funded by London Councils ESF London Co-financing, was among those selected from almost 180 entries for the National Housing Federation’s Community Impact Awards.

The awards celebrate the difference that England’s housing associations make through creating opportunities and bringing local communities together. More than 60 projects were shortlisted, across four categories: Better neighbourhoods; Greener living; Health and wellbeing, and Investing in people.

Working Futures supports people with mental health problems into employment across eleven London boroughs. Since 2013 it has:
•    Provided close 1:1 support (information, advice and guidance) to 161 people
•    Created volunteer or work placements for 55 people
•    Supported 27 people into employment.

It will be competing to win the regional award in the Federation’s Investing in People’ category against:

•    Family Mosaic’s ‘Employment Bootcamp’
•    Watford Community Housing Trust’s ‘Community Maintenance Team’.

The scheme that wins for this category on the night will join others from around the country in the national shortlist and a national judging day decide which of the final category winners goes to the national finals in central London on 12 June 2014.

David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said: “We’ve had some fantastic submissions through for this year’s awards and the judges have had a tough job to do to select those shortlisted. The Working Futures team should feel very proud indeed – it is no small feat to have made it this far.”

Clare Norton, chief executive of Peter Bedford Housing Association, said: “We’re delighted that the National Housing Federation has recognised Working Futures in the London shortlist of the Community Impact Awards. Participants on the programme tell us how much they value the flexible, tailored support it offers. Congratulations to the Working Futures team for their efforts – and thank you to the many companies, colleges, councils and organisations who work with them to provide this service.”