Major £5.5m employment project in Lancashire launches

A new drive to help people in Lancashire boost their skills and support them into employment and training has launched.

liz-tapner-selnetA partnership of 61 organisations in Lancashire, led by the Social Enterprise Lancashire Network – Selnet - has been successful in securing over five and half million pounds for two new projects in the county that will run until 2019.

The scheme is part of a programme funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund called Building Better Opportunities.

The Invest In Youth programme aims to transform the futures of over 770 young people aged between 15 and 24 who have issues in their lives that are getting in the way of them finding employment. It will focus on participants with mental or physical health difficulties, who are homeless, have disabilities or they may be full-time carers.

Meanwhile the Age Of Opportunity programme will run along similar lines and be targeted at supporting 1,500 people over the age of 50.

The 61 social enterprises and charities that will provide the service will cover the whole county and have been selected to meet the specialist needs of the people that will receive support.

In England, a total of 27 projects have been given the go ahead with the aim to fill the gaps in existing provision that is available to help people into work, learn new skills and tackle poverty.

Lyn Cole, grant-making director at the Big Lottery Fund in England, 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.”

Lead partner, Selnet, has worked closely with the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to ensure the services on offer meet the specific needs in Lancashire.

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

“There is good provision in the county 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.”