In review: Teacake Club meeting (Friday 29 April)

Written by Opportunity Sheffield

On Friday 29 April, we were delighted to welcome Teacake Club members to our first in-person meeting for over two years.

The meeting was kindly hosted by South Yorkshire Housing Association (SYHA) at its Rockingham Street offices in Sheffield city centre.

Daniel Inniss, Senior Project officer at Opportunity Sheffield, welcomed attendees and introduced the guest speakers.

Joseph Flynn & Anokhee Parikh – South Yorkshire Housing Association

Joseph and Anokhee from our host South Yorkshire Housing Association delivered a presentation on how health and wellbeing can impact working life and how its work is shaped by this. The organisation runs a number of employment projects locally including Working Win and Good Work.

This organisation, which has reached over 5,200 people with its employment support services since 2017, is motivated by the positive impacts doing good work has on health and wellbeing.

The speakers announced a 28.8% unemployment gap for people with health conditions and disabilities, according to the Office for National Statistics. This figure led the pair on to introduce SYHA’s Individual Placement and Support model which aims to support people affected by this issue into paid employment, co-supported by health impact services.

The presentation included various quotes and videos from past SYHA customers who thanked the organisation for helping them to find focus in jobs they love, subsequently improving their mental health and wellbeing.

SYHA offer holistic 1-1 support including help with job search and support to stay in work despite barriers.

Referrals can be made to or

Tim Jeffrey – The Growth Company – Restart & United For Ukraine

Restart scheme

Tim commenced with an introduction to The Growth Company, explaining that the organisation is responsible for delivering DWP’s Restart scheme in Sheffield.

The programme provides those who have been claiming Universal Credit for nine months and over with enhanced support to find a job in their local area. Participants receive 12 months of tailored employability support, accessing 1:1 keyworker support, employability tutors, job search tools, and access to opportunities.

Tim was pleased to announce The Growth Company has helped over 1,000 people back into employment as a result of their skills coaching work.

United For Ukraine

The Growth Company has launched a free support website for Ukrainian evacuees to access local quality-checked job vacancies. Support and advice is available including how to set up a British bank account and accessing ESOL lessons.

Local recruiting businesses can also take advantage of the new website to publish their own vacancies and support Ukrainian applicants.

The website is also translatable from English to Ukrainian.

Visit the United For Ukraine website


John Casey – Department for Work & Pensions – Sheffield Jobcentre Plus updates

John updated the group with the changes to accessing job centres in Sheffield as well as announcing its upcoming events and plans.

Cavendish Court Jobcentre Plus (JCP) is now a ‘centre of excellence’ for youth 18-24 benefits claimants. Other JCPs across the city, including the new Tenter Street site, are welcome to jobseekers aged 25+.

JCP is looking to return to delivering small group sessions post-pandemic to ensure as many people as possible can be supported by its interventions at once.

On Thursday 5 May, the Cavendish Court youth site will be hosting an event with various providers attending to offer their services. Please contact John if your organsiation would like to attend.

John also advertised the ‘Employment Buzz’ events which take place every Wednesday 11am-11:30am to discuss current opportunities for jobseekers. Please email him to be sent the meeting invitations.


Alex Ashida – Green Tree Therapy

Alex introduced the group to Green Tree Therapy’s solution-focused therapy – an alternative to traditional mental health counselling.

Green Tree Therapy’s approach is to help the customer manage their problems by focusing on what life might be like without their issues affecting them. Its aim is to make people feel more confident to go into work through adopting small changes as part of their day to create positivity and calmness.


Sarah Higgins – Sheffield City Council – Sheffield’s Working Jobs Fairs

Sarah Higgins, Project Officer at Opportunity Sheffield, informed the group about the series of Sheffield’s Working Job Fairs across the city in 2022.

The aims of these events are to connect residents with local employers, inspire jobseekers with possibilities and reduce reliance on benefits. Opportunity Sheffield also aims to support businesses at a time where vacancies are hard to fill due to post-pandemic circumstances.

Fairs are arranged in community areas across Sheffield to ensure accessibility for all.

Employment support is also available on the day through a number of local providers offering 1-1 keyworker support, including CV writing help, access to interview clothing and training provisions.

Two jobs fair have been hosted so far – the first on Bramall Lane, the second in Gleadless Valley – which received a total of 350 attendees. Previous employers advertising their local vacancies have included South Yorkshire Police, NHS, Plusnet and First Group to name a few.

The next fair will be held on Wednesday 11 May 10:15am – 2:45pm at the English Institute of Sport, Coleridge Road, Attercliffe, S9 5DA.

Please see below for upcoming jobs fair dates and venues up until October 2022:


Michael Corbishley – Sheffield City Council -Changing Futures

Michael Corbishley, Programme Manager, introduced Sheffield City Council’s Changing Futures project which is funded by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

The aims of this government programme are to stabilise and improve the life situation of adults aged 18+ who are experiencing multiple disadvantage with a particular focus on reaching those not well connected to existing support services.

Categories of disadvantage include homelessness, substance misuse, mental health issues, domestic abuse, and contact with the criminal justice system.

The interventions delivered will focus on creating connections, engaging people in what’s meaningful to them, and longevity and sustainability.


Becky Hopewell – Sheffield City Council – Advance Sheffield

Becky Hopewell, Strategic Coordinator at Opportunity Sheffield, delivered an overview of Sheffield City Council’s Advance Sheffield programme which operates across all four South Yorkshire local authorities.

The objective of the project is to support the development of skills both for individuals and employers, to achieve growth across the city.

This programme is aimed at employed candidates who want to upskill, find their next job, get further qualifications or start up their own business. Employed status means any paid work, i.e. permitted work, zero hour contract. Self employed sub-contractors are also eligible.

All adults aged 19+ are eligible to receive funded training where they do not already hold a Level 3 qualification. This includes a wide variety of training, from Basic Skills to Level 3 Vocational Diplomas.

Advance Sheffield also provides a holistic Workforce Development Support service for employers to help employers bridge skills gaps and overcome recruitment challenges. The programme helps employers navigate the complicated funding and training landscape, facilitating meetings with training providers to ensure the best outcomes for both employers and their employees.


Robert Walker – Sheffield City Council – Advancing Digital

The final presentation was delivered by Robert Walker, Programme Manager at Opportunity Sheffield, to produce an overview of Sheffield City Council’s Advancing Digital project.

Advancing Digital is a project aimed at helping people and businesses make the most of learning opportunities in the digital age.

Through this project, a non-accredited platform has been developed which includes over 250 online training courses in eight key learning areas: Financial Management, Resource and Carbon Efficiency, Customer Relationship Management, User Experience / Interface, People Management, Project Management, Data / Information Management, and Cyber and Physical Security.

These courses are free and available to access 24/7 to suit the learner flexibly. It is also possible to enroll on multiple courses at once.


Request a code to access the courses on the website by emailing

Updates In Brief

Our host, Daniel, then opened the floor to any impromptu speakers, offering short two-minute presentation slots for brief updates to let the group know what their organisations are currently up to.

Craig Turton – Sheffield City Council – See It Be It

Craig encouraged local businesses to help See It Be It continue to bring the world of work into schools by offering employer encounters to students.

If your organsiation can offer some time to help school students increase their employability and get work-ready, contact

Tom Winbow – Momentum Recruitment & Training

Tom explained how Momentum Recruitment and Training delivers courses to unemployed aged 19+ candidates in order to help them progress into work with local employers.

Training is available in Welding, FLT Warehousing, SIA Security (including full Level 2 Door Supervisor qualification) and Construction to gain a CSCS card.

All training courses are free and include certification and equipment/PPE.

Momentum will also be hosting a coffee morning on Thursday 5 May 10am-12pm which welcomes drop-ins to have an informal chat about the training provisions available.


The first post-lockdown meeting allowed us to close with the business card raffle and the opportunity to network after a long time apart.

Many thanks to all who attended the meeting – we hope you found it fun and useful!

Thanks once again to our host – South Yorkshire Housing Association.

Keep your eyes peeled on our newsletters and social media for the announcement of our next meeting date in a couple of months.

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