An £800,000 scheme aimed at creating hundreds of home-based jobs in the North East has been extended by nine months due to its popularity.
The Home Working Fund is managed by leading business services firm, Entrust, and funding was provided by One North East and subsequently the Department for Business Innovation and Skills. The fund offers businesses up to £3,000 towards the costs of training and equipment for each new home-worker.
Since its launch in 2009 the scheme has already helped create over 285 new jobs in the North East, with many more expected in the coming months. While the scheme is not restricted to companies in the North East, it can only be used to create jobs in this region.
Businesses of all sizes and sectors have secured money from the Home Working Fund including a growing travel business, a rapidly expanding energy saving company, and two specialist call and contact centres.
Among them is an organisation providing training and care services in the North East, ID Training and ID Support, which enables 15 of its 180 employees to work from home thanks to the support of the fund.
Director Gordon Quince said: “We wanted to take on home workers to improve flexible working for employees and reduce our overhead costs. The Home Working Fund has allowed us to do just that and more.
“For us it has increased staff morale and productivity. For the employees it has allowed them to manage their work/life balance, especially employees with younger children, and enables them to work in a quieter environment.
“Ultimately, the Home Working Fund has made it possible for us to grow and develop the business in a sustainable way across the region how we’ve always planned.”
Sarah Belton, project manager of the Home Working Fund, added: “It’s great that in these difficult economic times for the North East, our scheme is still creating jobs and that these jobs provide flexible working opportunities that may not be available in a standard nine to five job.
“The scheme offers a whole range of benefits to individuals as well as businesses. It also provides new opportunities for people in rural areas or those unable to leave their home due to disability, or family commitments.”
To find out more about the Home Working Fund visit http://www.entrust.co.uk/homeworkingfund