A NEW project aiming to help people get back into employment and training through volunteering has been launched.

Newport’s Riverfront Theatre has teamed up with Family Skills Newport to give six volunteers the chance to be an usher during its family film programme.

Family Skills is part of the wider Families First programme, a programme from the Welsh Government that supports families living in poverty.

In Newport, the programme has a clear emphasis on prevention and early intervention with many agencies pooling their skills and working together to help the whole family.

Family Skills creates volunteer opportunities for parents with young children who are looking to get back into work and raise their confidence and skills.

Seven volunteers have signed up to the scheme running throughout August, which will see them work as ushers during 15 screenings of the Riverfront Theatre’s family films.

On July 30 the volunteers underwent training led by project co-ordinator Kate Aspinwall, along with the theatres technical manager Owen Davies, and experienced usher Emma Goodwin.

From Monday they will undergo a ‘shadow shift’ before taking on the role for real.

As part of the programme, the volunteers must complete a minimum of three shifts to receive a job reference from front of house manager Glenys Burnett-Jones.

In September the volunteers will have an awards evening where they will received a certificate in recognition of their work and the possibility of having further opportunities to work with the theatre.

Paul Chambers of the Riverfront Theatre said: “The volunteers are of various ages and different backgrounds.

“They are really skilled people and this scheme gives them the confidence to get back into work.

“This is the first time the Riverfront Theatre has done something like this on this scale.

“Volunteers will take on the quite expansive role which includes monitoring the safety of the public the whole time they are in the theatre, checking the auditorium and selling merchandise.

“More than 120 people will be in each screening of our family films such as ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ and “Pudsey The Dog: The Movie’ with each volunteer receiving a certificate at the end of the placement.”

Kate Aspinwall, the project coordinator of the Family Skills scheme said the pilot project will provide volunteers with the opportunity to learn transferable skills that will be valuable to future employers.

“We hope it will be a real confidence boost for the volunteers and provide them with a platform for opportunities in the future,” she said.

“We want them to have fun, learn and have a really good experience.”