Fylde coast employment support scheme’s £3.5m aid

Liz Tapner of Selnet.
Liz Tapner of Selnet.
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A support programme that helps disadvantaged people has got funding for a new project under the Building Better Opportunities programme.

The grant will help a range of people in Lancashire boost their skills and support them into employment or training.

The Age of Opportunity and Invest in Youth projects began in August last year and are aimed at people over the age of 50 or under 25.

A further £3.5m has now been secured by a partnership of 45 social enterprise, charity and community organisations led by the social enterprise Lancashire network, Selnet. It brings the total funding to nearly £10m.

Changing Futures is a new project that aims to support 1,000 people who are most at risk of exclusion from the labour market to identify, reduce and remove their barriers to employment.

The project will be delivered across Lancashire with a focus on areas where there are high levels of poverty.

Selnet has worked closely with the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership and has brought together the 45 partners under a single umbrella, providing a coordinated approach to the needs of some of the most disadvantaged people.

Liz Tapner, chief executive at Selnet, said: “Securing this funding is a major achievement and I believe it will truly make a difference to peoples’ lives.

“Selnet’s cost for managing this project are kept to a minimum so more of the money goes to the partners to provide support at a grassroots level. While there is already services in Lancashire to help people who are out of work but there are some people who have significant challenges in their lives and we’re here to help.

“They may need six months or a year of help from us and it is that intensive support that the team of specialist partners can deliver.”

Lyn Cole, England grant making director at the Big Lottery Fund said: “The Building Better Opportunities programme not only enables people to improve their employment prospects, but their self-confidence too.

“Each project is specifically designed to match the needs and ambitions of local communities, providing tailored support that helps people achieve their goals.”

Last year, the Selnet-led partnership secured over £5.5m of funding for Building Better Opportunities for two projects ongoing across Lancashire. Age of Opportunity is aimed at those over 50 and Invest in Youth at 16-24 year olds facing multiple and complex barriers to accessing work or training.

Also see: Jobs threats as austerity bites