AN INNOVATIVE scheme in one of York’s poorest areas has been hailed a success.

The Kingsway Project has been working with people in the Acomb neighbourhood in a range of areas including job prospects, health, energy efficiency, and financial advice.

The Kingsway West area is officially the most deprived in York, and a pilot project was set up there with the aim of improving residents’ well-being and identifying ideas that could be rolled out elsewhere in the city.

Local councillor Sue Galloway praised the impact of the project in job creation.

She said: “Since January this year, 65 people have contacted Future Prospects, who are working intensively in this area and have outreach sessions once a week.

“Of those 65, 31 were unemployed and 26 have now entered training courses and five have found jobs – pretty impressive given the economic situation.”

Next Tuesday, City of York Council’s ruling executive will look at ways of improving the economic picture across York.

A report by Roger Ranson, the council’s assistant director of economic development, praises the example of Kingsway.

He wrote: “The council has already approved support for the Credit Union and the ‘York on a Budget’ booklet co-ordinated by the Citizens’ Advice Bureau.

“Members will also be aware of the Kingsway West initiative aimed at addressing levels of deprivation in the only neighbourhood in the city falling within the ten per cent most deprived nationally. Initiatives within this project include: • Training and work – with Future Prospects advising • Benefits take-up and financial advice for individuals and through targeted events •A health campaign using local GP surgeries •Growing your own food initiative •Credit Union – a new pay-in point alongside awareness raising • Heating costs – good practice awareness/advice Coun Galloway spoke in support of the project in the wake of new unemployment figures reported in The Press earlier this week.

The number of people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance increased in all 22 of York’s council wards between August 2008 and March 2009. Westfield has the highest number of claimants, but its rise of 66 per cent was the fifth lowest of the 22.