Adult learning helps residents lay foundations for the future

A housing association is building a brighter future for tenants by giving them a helping hand with their studies.

Staffordshire Housing Association (SHA) stepped in when two young residents wanted to take up places on courses to improve their career prospects.

Gemma Titterton, 34, and 21-year-old Jasmine Barton are neighbours at the new Uplands Mill development in Biddulph.

Gemma is improving her CV with a number of courses after an accident two years ago left her with a badly broken leg and forced her out of the jobs market.

And her passion for studying was so infectious she persuaded her friend Jasmine to join her on two of the courses.

“It’s given me a new start – it’s brilliant and it’s made me so happy. It’s very rewarding and I can’t praise SHA enough for helping me,” said Gemma.

“It gives you so much confidence. You get a certificate but it also helps you meet new people, which is very important for me because I’m new to the area.

“It makes your CV look good and it means you don’t spend all day at home watching TV, which can sometimes happen to people.”

Gemma has had a series of operations on her leg which has still not fully healed. She had been working in Berkshire at the time of the accident but moved back to the area to be closer to her family.

She found out about the courses, that are a part of Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s adult and community learning programme and paid for by SHA, from the Live and Learn Programme  in her SHA welcome pack when she moved into her new flat in August last year.

She has already completed a number of classes and is preparing for several more, including a course in hand and nail treatments and one focusing on wellbeing and self-image. She also hopes to do some voluntary work before finding a job in the retail sector.

Jasmine is Gemma’s neighbour in Mulberry House in Lucerne Road and will be joining her for the latter two courses.

She studied theatrical and media make-up at Macclesfield College full time last year and wants to study further while she weighs up her options.

“I’d like to go back to college full-time at some point but at the moment I’m not sure what I want to do in the future,” she said.

“Gemma introduced me to these courses and I want to go on them to keep busy and build up my confidence. I’m very impressed by what SHA are doing.

“I got to know Gemma because we moved in at around the same time last year. It’s a really close community.”

SHA Housing Services Team Leader, Sarah Oliver said, “Uplands Mill is a brand new development made up of flats and houses available to rent and shared ownership properties that are part rent, part buy, to help first time buyers get a foot on the housing ladder.

“We’re really pleased that Gemma and Jasmine are so happy living there and proud that they have done so well on the Live and Learn courses we offer.”


For media enquiries contact Sarah Pye or Sandra Barber at Staffordshire Housing Association on 01782 744533.

Notes to Editors:

Staffordshire Housing Group is committed to building a better future for local communities.  The group’s parent organisation, Staffordshire Housing Association, has around 3,000 homes for rent and sale, including three older people’s villages, and offers a range of tenant services. Revival Home Improvement Agency works with older and vulnerable home owners to help them stay warm, secure and independent in well-maintained homes. Blue Mountain Housing Association works closely with refugees to provide essential support and help with access to healthcare, education, training and employment.  Since April 2012, Hanley-based charity Arch has been part of the group. Arch provides accommodation and support services to people in need, including survivors of domestic violence, ex-offenders and young people leaving care.