Wintercomfort Awarded £50k to get people back to work




Cambridge-based charity, Wintercomfort for the Homeless, has just been awarded an extra £50,000 by the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to help get local people back into paid work.


The LEP Prize Challenge has already supported seven schemes with funding of £30,000, one year on the best three will receive an extra £50,000 to scale up their projects. In total, the LEP Prize Challenge Fund has invested £360,000 into the local community; creating around110 paid jobsand supporting almost300 peopleto becomework-ready.


Wintercomfort's project 'Overstream Clean' is a cleaning social enterprise that uses transit bikes to transport its workers and their equipment around the city. All employees have experienced homelessness, and have been given the opportunity to learn new skills and get back into work.


With additional £50,000, Overstream Clean aims to double the number of people they support and increase the number of cleaning and gardening contracts they secured in 2014. The LEP's investment will also fund the purchase of two more cargo bikes and equip them with cleaning materials and GPS trackers, making the cleaning service even more efficient.


Claire Higgins, VSE Board Member of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP, said:


"In 2014, the LEP Prize Challenge helped around 110 people into work and nearly 300 to become work ready. We were greatly impressed by all the projects we funded, but after careful consideration the panel agreed that Wintercomfort for the Homeless, Cross Keys Homes and CHS Group were the most deserving organisations to receive an extra £50,000 to continue their work.


"All three have helped to get the most people job-ready and into employment, delivered a great service that best fits the needs of their community and we believe they will continue to make a significant difference to people's lives. We look forward to seeing these projects go from strength to strength in the future."


Rachel Newell, Social Enterprise manager of Wintercomfort, said:


"We are overjoyed at the news of being selected to receive a further £50,000. Last year's funding from the LEP enabled us to plan, set-up and initiate Overstream Clean, a cleaning service which trains and employs those with experience of homelessness."


"Last year we worked with 16 people and employed five people. This year we hope to expand our operations and work with 30 people and get 12 people into employment. The LEP Prize Challenge has really focussed us into researching and designing a prize winning enterprise, with clear social outcomes based on a solid business plan."


Jane Darlington, LEP Prize Challenge Panel member and Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire Community Foundation who administer the scheme, said:


"The progress after 12 months was interesting to review. Some projects had delivered way ahead of their own expectations and others had faced issues and challenges they had not perhaps anticipated.


"The three projects that have been selected to receive further funding in 2015 all showed themselves to be ambitious, have a strong track record of delivering to target in 2014, and offered, over the next 12 months, innovative and significant interventions to make their beneficiaries job ready or employed. Whilst there was discussion and debate at the selection meeting, the panel were unanimous in their desire to focus support to where it was felt the legacy would be a long lasting positive impact on people's employment options and prospects."


The Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP) launched the LEP Prize Challenge in May 2013, committing £1 million to support local Voluntary and Social Enterprise projects that aim to get people furthest from the jobs marks work ready and back into paid employment.


Find out more about the LEP Prize Challenge here:

For further information, and to organise any interviews, please contact Laura or Louise at the LEP on 01480 277180 or email