Award-winning employment coach goes “above and beyond”

Bromford Housing

An employment coach who has helped raise a quarter of a million pounds for initiatives in her Gloucestershire community over the past decade has been recognised with an award.

Clare Bartlett, who joined housing association Bromford in 2007 before being seconded to Cirencester Town Council for 10-hours-a-week as youth initiative officer, has received the coveted Cirencester Ambassador Award at the Chamber of Commerce Business Awards. She has been instrumental in setting up Cirencester Youth Town Council, Ozone Youth Club, and the Phoenix Festival which was the first youth-led music festival of its kind in the South West.

Clare was handed her award and certificate at the annual Cirencester Chamber of Commerce Awards in May.

In her nomination papers for the accolade it read: “This young woman deserves some recognition for all her hard work and dedication to help make Cirencester a better place for all and promote what great work the people of Cirencester do she always goes above and beyond and is there when anyone needs any help, support or guidance night or day.”

Clare has helped raise over £250,000 for various projects in the town and now spearheads the Ozone hub at Cirencester Skate Park; assisting young people and offering advice, guidance and employment support when needed. The site has seen a reduction in anti-social behaviour since she started the project and funding has recently been secured for a new porta-cabin which will be transformed into a café and used to provide local people with further training and volunteering opportunities.

“All of the connections I make with the town council and chamber of commerce, help my role with Bromford as I get to hear about any training and job opportunities that I can then highlight to customers,” Clare explains.

“I also get invited to important meetings and if it’s relevant and I am able to share that information, I’ll go back and tell our relevant teams so I really am embedded into my community – I mean this is where I was born and bred so I’m Cirencester through and through. Around 35 Bromford customers use the skate park and we’ve just got extra funding to run all-girl sessions from August as well as setting up a café on site. The café will be run by the young people so that will create additional training, qualifications, and volunteering opportunities and it’ll link back to my work with Bromford – so if a customer says they want a food hygiene qualification, I can guide them in the right direction.”

She added: “I joined Bromford in 2007 as a customer relations advisor and I’ve never looked back as an employment coach. I get to know every single person within a household and because of my work with young people, I’ve already got a lot of connections with support groups or agencies.

“It’s about using what’s already in our communities and if you can build those trusting relationships with partners then they naturally come to you straight away – it’s an approach which is really working here and I’m delighted to receive this award and play my small part in raising the aspirations of people who live in Cirencester, not just those who live in a Bromford home.”