A FREE scheme to create up to 15 new businesses and encourage 20 people into employment within a year has been launched.

The housing provider, Karbon Homes and social enterprise company, Social Enterprise Strategies (SES) have teamed up to help residents living in Derwentside and Chester-le-Street become self-employed.

The service provides people aged 16-65 years old, with access to experienced advisors to help them develop their ideas into sustainable businesses and extends Karbon Homes’ successful Brighter Futures employability service, which has already helped 600 clients.

Helen Lolachie, of Greencroft, has been developing her business plan and finding out how to access grants and funds for a crèche she is setting up this September.

The 29-year-old said: “This is a really good initiative for people like me who are thinking of setting up their own business and need some free help and guidance.

“At the first appointment, we discussed my business plan and the steps I need to take to launch the business and I am already looking forward to my next appointment.”

To find out more call Karbon Homes on 01207-524-205.