Employment and skills programmes end after supporting 9,500 people

By Active Lancashire

23 Feb 2024

Group MPT mentors - Copy.jpg.jpg

Two large Lancashire-wide employment programmes are celebrating their completion this December, after boosting the skills and confidence of over 9,500 people since 2017 and collectively assisting 1,743 into employment.

More Positive Together (MPT) and MPT Steps were projects aimed at enhancing the skills and employment prospects of residents in some of Lancashire's most deprived areas. MPT focused on assisting individuals farthest from the job market, while MPT Steps aimed to support those whose employment opportunities were affected by the pandemic.

Michelle Grimes, More Positive Together relationship manager, expressed gratitude to the partner organisations delivering the programmes, saying: "We are particularly grateful for the hard work of our mentors who have helped change the lives of many people in Lancashire.

"Their determination to work with individuals to overcome personal barriers and enter training or employment has been pivotal, boosting their skills and confidence. The success of these projects is undoubtedly down to their unwavering commitment to helping others."

Both projects received funding from the European Social Fund (ESF) growth programme. Originally launched in 2017 with a planned conclusion in 2020, the success of More Positive Together led to its extension until 2023. MPT Steps followed suit, commencing in January 2022.

Managed by the charity Active Lancashire, the projects brought together a coalition of 30 partners from various sectors, including housing associations, local authorities and other third-sector organisations. Operating in smaller, localised groups covering Pendle, Central Lancashire, West Lancashire, and Coastal areas, these partners provided practical assistance and mentoring support to project participants.

Local residents seeking support were connected to dedicated mentors who conducted personal needs assessments and developed tailored action plans to overcome barriers to employment. The projects also offered opportunities for personal development, including engagement in environmental and arts activities, training programmes to acquire new skills, and access to valuable work experience opportunities.

Active Lancashire implemented a comprehensive well-being offer in both projects in line with their other services, encouraging participants to engage in sports and physical activities, fostering improved health, enhanced confidence, and positive social interactions.

Sarah Dunne, MPT Steps relationship manager, said: "What has set these programmes apart from others is a unique focus on improving mental and physical wellbeing focus of participants, which has led to a positive culture change across Lancashire. Our mentors and partners have been instrumental in achieving this and we know they will continue to promote the benefits of a healthier, more active lifestyle in helping people overcome barriers for years to come."

With the conclusion of ESF funding, Active Lancashire continues to deliver other employment programmes alongside partners on behalf of several local authorities. These include Move Forward, which is delivered with Selnet and a range for partners for Councils in Preston and Pendle with funding from the Government’s UKSPF, alongside the UKSPF funded Rossendale Works and the Nelson town deal funded Pendle YES Hub - both delivered on behalf of their respective borough councils.

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