Skills development support for hostel staff and residents

Time to Change (West Cumbria) is a project providing a safe place to accommodate the growing homeless population in West Cumbria.

Based in Egremont, the former police station was converted into an 11-bed hostel known as Calderwood House. It offers emergency, short-stay accommodation with 24-hour support, prioritising ex-military personnel.

Residents can stay for up to six months and are supported to maximise their income, improve physical health and mental wellbeing and address any form of addiction they may have.  Since opening in 2015, the social enterprise has helped over 100 people get back on their feet.

Incorrect manual handling is one of the most common causes of injury at work, accounting for over a third of all workplace injuries. Hostel Manager, Stephen Pettit, wanted his team to know how to safely move heavy items either by lifting, carrying, lowering, pushing or pulling them. A request was submitted to Cumbria Exchange for manual handling training to be delivered to his team of Support Workers and volunteers.

Dave Gandy, Senior Health & Safety Advisor on the BEP project visited the hostel following the request and put the staff and residents through a manual handling course. He said: “I was more than happy to assist Stephen and his staff and provide Manual Handling Training at Calderwood House, it’s a fantastic organisation.”

Stephen said: “I found this whole process to be quite simple but very rewarding as not only did I upskill my staff but also managed to get some training for some of my residents. This will hopefully help towards putting them on the right path towards other training and employment.”

What was achieved?

Manual Handling skills development of Calderwood House staff and some residents.


Improved staff and residents’ awareness of manual handling techniques and safe practice. Offering residents practical training which can be added to their CVs and form part of a training portfolio.

Where can I find out about the parties involved?

Calderwood House:

BEP Delivery Team:


Helen Conway
Helen is the Cumbria Exchange Coordinator and the first port of call for all things Exchange. Read more from Helen