We Shine Festival created job opportunities for refugees as well as promoting local independent businesses and bringing light, art and dancing to the streets of Portsmouth
ONE of the south of England’s largest housing providers Abri partnered with the We Shine Festival in Portsmouth to help fill job vacancies – and it has now spoken of its success after the event attracted more than 80,000 people.
The We Shine Festival saw light, street art, technology, music and dancing come to the streets of Portsmouth for the first time from November 18 until 20.
Abri’s employment service engaged with 23 people through its Abri Work Academy to fill 19 jobs across the weekend.
Chris Adams, employment and training manager, said: ‘Abri Work Academy see us working in partnership with a range of employers to deliver sector-based training. It helps people to have the skills, values and behaviours that employers require. This approach has enabled us to deliver training to 173 people this year, including those at the We Shine Festival.’
Nine of those who took part were refugees and asylum seekers, with eight going on to work at the festival, in a mix of paid and voluntary roles.
Three of the group also helped the artists set up, taking on apprentice roles in Victoria Gardens and St Mary’s the day before the start of the festival, as well as stewarding at the event itself.
The majority of these young people are from Sudan and are being supported by Street Support.
Abri is working with them to help them secure vocational training and work opportunities.
The festival organisers were really pleased with all participants, including this group of young people, and have asked if they can return to both Victorious and We Shine next year.
In addition, Create, Abri’s self-employment project, sponsored five market stalls at the We Create Market.
The market specialises in local makers, designers and artists, and was help in the old Sainsbury’s building over the three days.
Box of Secrets by Jayde Weller, Mildred Trouble Shop by Louise Lea, UNDERDOCK Label by Evgeniya Dragoeva, Craft & Tonic by Lynsey Pleasance, and Funky Ferret Studios by William Disberry were supported
by the Create team to showcase their products at the market.
Louise said: ‘Not only did I gain loads of new customers, but it was such a great feeling being around some amazing creative peeps.’