Community schemes which have helped hundreds of the most disadvantaged people in the East into a job or to become ready to work, can now expand their programmes with an extra £75,000 from New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership.
Three organisations, which were among eight in Suffolk and Norfolk granted £20,000 each through the Community Challenge Fund in 2016, will now benefit from £25,000 each in follow-up funding to extend or continue their work.
The successful projects are:
Action Community Enterprises, Norwich – ‘Worksense’: Piloting a new model for engaging unemployed young people with employers, through setting competitive vocational challenges.
Purfleet Trust, King’s Lynn – ‘Learn2Earn’: An empowerment project, giving people who are facing multiple barriers to employment – including people who have faced domestic abuse or bullying at school – access to skills, volunteering and work experience.
Headway Suffolk: Working with people with a neurological condition to help them get back into work, providing skills including CV writing, driving and interview skills.
The extra awards follow a panel session with New Anglia LEP and delivery partners Suffolk Community Foundation and Norfolk Community Foundation. As in previous years, the judges were very impressed with the progress all the projects have made and the quality of their plans to embed and sustain the delivery for a second year and beyond.
The three chosen projects have forecast that they will help 64 people to gain paid employment in the next year and an additional 144 people to become ‘work ready’. Each will receive a further £25k from the Challenge Fund for this additional delivery and to help them to mainstream their projects into their core offer beyond Challenge Fund assistance.
These awards take the overall funding granted through the Community Challenge Fund to £605,000 with projects funded pledging to help 279 people into paid employment and a further 724 become work ready.
Doug Field, New Anglia LEP board member and Joint Chief Executive of East of England Co-op said: “All the projects funded over the first three years of the Community Challenge Fund are doing vital work, helping hundreds of people into work or into a position where they can confidently look for work. These three projects have shown they deserve the chance to build on their work so far, and continue to make a real difference to the lives of people across the East, while also adding value to our region’s economy.”
Helen Fairweather from Headway Suffolk, said: ‘’Headway Suffolk is delighted to receive a second grant from Anglia LEP. 2016/17 has been a really positive year and Headway has helped over 27 people with a neurological condition to gain employment. This important grant funding will be used to set up a social enterprise offering employment to people with a neurological condition with any surplus income being used to further strengthen Headway Suffolk.”
Lou Gardiner, Managing Director, Action Community Enterprises CIC, said: “We are delighted that the LEP has recognised the value of the work that was undertaken in year 1 of our project and has given us this opportunity to further develop our programme. The Worksense programme provides an alternative to traditional work experience, transforming the way employers and young people engage with each other. Year 2 will give us the opportunity to enhance this concept and will enable us to share good practice with employers who have a desire to support young people into the world of work.”
Paula Hall, Chief Executive of Purfleet Trust, said: “We have learned from our first year that the model we have developed really works for those marginalised groups who feel they will not be able to access employment via conventional channels. 19 people with multiple barriers to employment found paid work as a result of the LEP investment last year. We aim to improve on that number this year.
Lucy Shaw our employability Coach is passionate about supporting people who need help to access employment and will build on the success of Lear2Earn employability project supporting more than 30 people into work over the coming year.”
Stephen Singleton, Chief Executive at Suffolk Community Foundation, said: ‘’We are delighted to work in partnership with the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership to ensure that their grant funding reaches vital grass roots projects like Headway Suffolk. Together, our partnership working and joined up thinking will really make a difference to ensure that those who face neurological challenges can live productive and happy lives with dignity.’’
Graham Tuttle, Chief Executive of Norfolk Community Foundation said: “We were very impressed this year by the quality of all of the presentations made to the New Anglia LEP Challenge Fund which were seeking further funding to continue and expand their original projects. The successful groups should be rightly proud of their projects and the innovation they continue to show working with their clients who typically remain hard to reach and furthest from the job market owing to their circumstances.”