A COMMUNITY enterprise in Clayton-le-Moors has been hailed in a national report as an example for others to follow.
Mercer House 1842, which is housed in the 212-year-old Grade II listed town house in Mercer Park was praised by the National Institute for Adults Continuing Education (NiACE).
The report, titled Community Learning and Volunteering, featured Mercer House 1842 as a case study of good practice, and said there was a mutually beneficial relationship between learning, and volunteering in communities.
The report said: “A range of positive outcomes were identified as a result of the volunteers’ work, including the establishment of a local health focus group - Clayton Cares - healthier eating among residents following distribution of a health awareness pack, and the clearance of five ‘grot spots’.
“Central to the project’s success was having a structured approach in place to provide information, training, support and guidance to volunteers.”
A project at Mercer House, ‘Learn and Share’, saw its volunteer base grow by 65 per cent, from 55 to 151, and offered various community learning courses to new learners and volunteers to give them more knowledge and skills in areas such as mental health awareness, confidence building, IT tuition, food hygiene, and first aid.
Programme manager at NiACE, Helen Plant, said: “The evidence gathered shows how learning and volunteering are complementary activities, which together can produce opportunities and benefits that are greater than the sum of the parts.
“From modest amounts of investment, significant outcomes have been realised for learners, families and communities.”
Director of Mercer House 1842, Nick Collingridge, said: “For it to be recognised that what we are doing at Mercer House is seen as good practice throughout the country is welcome. Our volunteers have made a huge difference to our town.”