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Community projects across England support people into work, training and education

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Building Better Opportunities
Release date:
8 10 2015

Communities across England are set to benefit from more than £132.6 million after the Big Lottery Fund and EU have joined forces.

The Big Lottery Fund is matching funds from the European Social Fund (ESF) 2014-2020 to provide joint investment in 61 local projects tackling poverty, promoting social inclusion and boosting local economies.

Projects will provide learning and training opportunities for people to increase their confidence and learn new skills that will put them on the path to employment. Projects are designed to help people to overcome a huge range of challenges in their lives and communities. For example, projects will provide specialist support to people living in a rural, isolated area, people who are homeless, have mental health issues, are living with a disability or overcoming addiction issues.

The Big Lottery Fund is working with local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) and their decision-making committees across England who have identified projects that best meet local need and priorities. From today organisations will be able to apply for funding to deliver these projects, including voluntary, community and social enterprise groups, who have historically found it hard to apply for and manage EU funding.

Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of the Big Lottery Fund said: “This valuable partnership gives us an opportunity to use our learning and expertise from ten years as a National Lottery funder to support communities. Working with local enterprise partnerships across England, these projects will enable people to overcome challenges and improve their long-term job prospects.”

The 61 projects announced today with a total of more than £132.6 million available across England represent the second round of this funding and involve 18 LEP areas. This takes the total number of LEP areas with projects to 38. Each LEP has identified the issues challenging their communities and the opportunity that funding can bring to address them.

Projects open for applications today include:

A project in the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP area to support young people aged 15 to 24 who are not in training, education or employment. Young people will be offered innovative and vocational skills activities designed to lead to employment, further education or training opportunities. The project recognises the challenges of the region being largely rural, and that the local economy reflects relatively low skills attainment and a high level of people out of work.

Across Cumbria LEP area, three projects will work with people facing multiple and complex barriers to employment, focusing on supporting people with mental health, financial inclusion and working with the social enterprise sector and wider third sector. The project aims to help people who are long-term unemployed to play a greater role in their communities, gain confidence and skills that they can put into practice in employment or volunteering.

A Liverpool LEP area project will aim to help more people with basic online skills and confidence to access digital technologies to help them progress to other training, employment or volunteering opportunities. The LEP recognises that the region has higher than national average levels of deprivation, unemployment and greater risk of social exclusion. The project will target local areas where there are low levels of digital skills and computer ownership.

A project in the North East LEP area covering Tyne and Wear aims to support people furthest from the labour market experiencing significant physical and mental health barriers into work. The project recognises the number of people who are unemployed due to ill health is relatively high in this area. Tailored support will be provided for each individual, assessing their complex needs and helping them overcome the main barriers to employment.

Five projects in London supporting people aged 25 and over living with mental health conditions to improve their health and wellbeing and move into sustained employment. Four of the projects will take a non-traditional Individual Placement and Support approach. This involves providing people with integrated employment and mental health support. Projects will work with a range of local partners to achieve this and will provide support tailored to people’s individual needs. The London Enterprise Panel is committed to supporting Londoners to gain skills to help them into long-term employment, particularly in the most deprived parts of the city.

Grant competitions are fair, open and competitive and any organisation is eligible to apply, however most of the projects will be better suited to partnership working. Full details of all the project outlines in this round are available at www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/esf

Potential applicants with questions about the stage one application process should view the FAQs available here https://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/bbofaq. The closing date for applications is 12 noon 30 November 2015.

A small number of further funding opportunities are expected in early 2016. To be kept informed on the latest Building Better Opportunities news register your interest on our website at www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/esf

Website:   www.biglotteryfund.org.uk
Twitter:   @biglotteryfund #BigLottery
Facebook: www.facebook.com/BigLotteryFund

For funding and general enquiries call:
BIG Advice Line: 0345 4 10 20 30

For press enquiries call:
Press office: 020 7211 1888
Out of hours media contact: 07867 500572

Notes to editors:

  • Building Better Opportunities is jointly funded with the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. The Department for Work and Pensions is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme. Established by the European Union, European Social Fund funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, skills development, job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding
  • Building Better Opportunities (BBO) projects have been designed in partnership with local enterprise partnerships (LEPs), who have been essential in identifying needs within each LEP area. Big Lottery Fund will work with European Structural Investment Fund (ESIF) committees, whose membership represents a cross section of sectors working in each LEP area. ESIF committees will take an advisory role throughout different stages of BBO, such as providing views on the applications we receive. Details of ESIF committee membership in each area can be found on the LEPs website.
  • In order to support potential applicants and to help grant holders to understand, plan for and deliver the additional requirements that come with managing European funding, Big Lottery Fund has also awarded £950,000 to Baker Tilly, in partnership with Ecorys UK. For further information about this support visit www.bboesfsupport.com
  • The Big Lottery Fund supports the aspirations of people who want to make life better for their communities across the UK. We are responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by the National Lottery for good causes and invest over £650 million a year in projects big and small in health, education, environment and charitable purposes.
  • Since June 2004 we have awarded over £8 billion to projects that make a difference to people and communities in need, from early years intervention to commemorative travel funding for World War Two veterans.
  • Since the National Lottery began in 1994, £34 billion has been raised and more than 450,000 grants awarded.