A further 120 local residents will be supported into work following the extension of the Rossendale Works employment and skills programme until March 2025.
Rossendale Borough Council members unanimously agreed the extension at their June meeting, with charity Active Lancashire set to continue delivering the programme on behalf of the council with funding provided through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).
Rossendale Council has been working in partnership with Active Lancashire and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) since 2018 to deliver Rossendale Works. The programme supports both individuals who are close to the labour market, such as those recently made redundant, as well as people with more complex barriers to employment or who are harder to engage. Since January 2022 alone, the programme has provided bespoke support to over 200 jobseekers.
Rossendale Works was initially made possible with funding by the European Social Fund, which will end in December 2023.
Alyson Barnes, Rossendale Borough Council leader, said: "We felt it really important that the great work done by Rossendale Works continue, so I'm pleased that there's an extension until 2025. The team are so committed to providing tailored support to all participants, they take the time to understand their skills, and help them achieve their employment goals.
"The service has also been good for local businesses, helping them to recruit from a talent pool and work directly with the programme to provide work placements and training to ensure new recruits are trained to meet their requirements prior to interview. It's a great example of how working collaboratively with other agencies and businesses has positives for all involved.”
Adrian Leather, chief executive of Active Lancashire, said: "We are delighted to be able to continue our partnership with Rossendale Borough Council and look forward to supporting more people with additional needs into work through our unique partnership approach.
“Like other programmes we deliver, the service incorporates free activities such as boxfit classes and a community allotment, which help to engage jobseekers with low motivation and contribute to their local social networks, skills, health, and well-being.”
As part of their ongoing plans, Rossendale Works will also establish a dedicated skills hub initially based at Futures Park, Bacup, following the success of a former Youth Employment hub in the same location.
This hub will host a rotation of partners, including the DWP, Princes Trust, Citizens Advice, Lancashire Mind, and Lancashire Adult Learning, to provide employment and well-being support to residents. In addition, the council has been successful in its bid for Capital Regeneration Project Funding relating to Levelling Up to potentially relocate this hub to a town centre location within the future.