Three councils across Cheshire have secured £5.4m in European funding to support young people and adults who need help to find work, training or further education across Cheshire.
Cheshire East, Warrington and Cheshire West and Chester councils have made a successful bid to the European Social Fund (ESF) that will bolster social intervention work across the three authority areas. The funding comes in two separate tranches linked to two categories within the ESF and Cheshire East Council will act as the lead accountable body.
All three councils have worked together to develop a new, early help, prevention and supported employment model to help vulnerable young people and adults achieve their goals to gain work, training or further education. As many as 3,165 young people and 2,225 adults could benefit through two new support programmes.
The project is specifically aimed at vulnerable young people, aged 15–25, who are not in a job, or in any form of training or education, also young people with special educational needs, cared for children, care leavers and disadvantaged adults, including those with long-term disabilities who are faced with complex needs, mental health conditions or homelessness. It will help to remove barriers to employment, further education or training.
Known as the ‘Journey First’ programme, this will see skilled keyworkers placed within specialist teams to significantly enhance existing support services, reaching out to vulnerable people who feel isolated or socially excluded. Intervention will be more targeted and tailored, helping to reduce dependency and vulnerability.
Councillor Kathryn Flavell, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for children and families, said: “I congratulate the Cheshire and Warrington public sector transformation team, hosted by Cheshire East Council, on the hard work carried out to produce this successful bid. This funding will help a great many vulnerable and marginalised young people and adults across the Cheshire and Warrington sub-region to gain employment, training or further education.
“This, in turn, will help with their self-confidence and sense of self-worth as well as building on their aspirations to fulfil their potential. The wrap-around support, advice and guidance they will receive will help to reduce the need for long-term social care or serious health issues.
Lorraine O’Donnell, Chief Executive Cheshire East Council, said: “This project has taken on even greater importance as a result of the pandemic which has highlighted serious health inequalities across the UK, particularly among households in poorer parts of the country and which is having a serious impact on the economy and the prospect for jobs and meaningful employment.”
Councillor Robert Cernik, Cheshire West and Chester Council cabinet member for children and families, said: There is no doubt our whole country is experiencing drastic changes to everyday life. As a council, we are here to do everything we can to help, particularly for the most vulnerable within our communities.
“This funding will help us to reach some of our most isolated individuals in a personalised and supportive way to ensure they have everything they need to help them move into further education, training and employment.”
Steven Broomhead, Chief Executive Warrington Borough Council, said: “This is an extremely valuable social intervention project that spans a wide area of the sub-region and I am grateful to our colleagues in Cheshire East and Cheshire West and Chester for all the support and commitment they have given to this successful application.”