Shining a light on new directions

“Just because you are over 50 does not mean you have nothing to offer. If anything, you have so much more.”

This is a phrase that Mark Roberts, employment and BBO project coordinator at Community Solutions, has found himself thinking about often during the last few months.

Building Better Opportunities (BBO) is a national programme from The National Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund (ESF). Matching funds from the European Social Fund (ESF) 2014-2020, they invest in local projects tackling the root causes of poverty, promoting social inclusion and driving local jobs and growth.

“Community Solutions is one of the delivery partners in Lancashire for the BBO programme,” explains Mark.

“There are three schemes under the programme: Changing Futures, Invest in Youth and Age of Opportunity. Each scheme has its own focus and objectives, ensuring we are reaching out and helping a variety of people in our local community.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen a rise in unemployment across all industries, from young students just starting out their working life, to mature workers finding themselves at a crossway in their career. Because of this, the team at Community Solutions are raising awareness of the Building Better Opportunities programme, especially the Age of Opportunity scheme which has been designed to meet the needs of over 50’s who would like to work but are unable to without additional skills or support.

Mark continues: “Covid-19 has resulted in more over 50s finding themselves without a job because of redundancies. This could have a difficult impact on their confidence whilst looking for work: these people may have been in their positions for a very long time and it could have been years since the last time they had to apply for a job or sit an interview.”

“Through BBO we are offering help and support to take the first steps to get back into employment, helping to boost skills, knowledge and confidence with a range of free training courses.”

Mark and his team are currently set-up to help with practical advice and CV writing, searching and applying for jobs, interview skills, finding transferable skills, exploring self-employment opportunities, help managing money and coping with stress and isolation. Through Community Solutions, they can also assist in finding volunteering opportunities if a candidate needed to gain practical skills, whilst also offering support to improve and develop general health and wellbeing if that was required.

The Age of Opportunity programme has already engaged with over 1250 people over 50 and as a direct result of the support received from this project, over 200 people have overcome the challenges they were facing and are either employed, self-employed or in training. 

To find out more about the project, or if you know someone who would benefit from being part of the Age of Opportunity scheme then please do get in touch with Mark on 01254 460080 or via email markroberts@csnw.co.uk

No To Redundant

Through a new #NoToRedundant campaign, we are reaching out those mature workers who have been in the same role for a long time and may need some help and support updating their CV, searching and applying for jobs and practice with interview scenarios.

We are pushing three key messages:

  • #YesToExperience
  • #YesToSkill
  • #YesToCommitment