A message from Garry Jones, Chief Executive at Support Staffordshire
Team Staffordshire, a consortium of local organisations, has confirmed it has bid for more than £11 million being allocated to Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent through the Building Better Opportunities Fund this November. If successful the group, which also includes the Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, NHS and Local Authority support, will receive funds to support people into work or nearer to work through activities such as work placements and volunteering.
Team Staffordshire is chaired by Garry Jones, Chief Executive of local voluntary sector support body Support Staffordshire.
I am absolutely delighted and honoured to chair the Team Staffordshire group; its been a lot of hard work but I am really proud that we have pulled together a lot of local interest and some brilliant organisations to go out and win these funds for our county and city. It’s wonderful to see the voluntary sector taking a lead, but also working with the public and private sectors to make a difference for our communities.
The £11m fund combines European Union Structural Investment Funds with Big Lottery Funds and is targeted at supporting people to increase their Employability. The money is designed to help those who are a long way from being work ready due to social, health, educational and other barriers. Team Staffordshire will work with dozens of local organisations and projects, linking them up with each other and into mainstream support from colleges and places like the job centre, and funding them to do what they do best. But the key difference is that this project treats people in a holistic way, and not just trying to get them off benefits.
The projects will be locally delivered and tailored to those in need of help, working with at least 3000 people over the 3 and half years of the funding, and targeting those with disabilities, the over 50s and ethnic minority groups. The successful projects will also need to prove they can support a third of the participants into training or work and another third from inactivity to active job-seeking. They will focus on the existing assets of Staffordshire residents and build up from these foundations. Project activities are still being designed but are likely to include support through work placements, voluntary experience and apprenticeships. However, the programme will also tackle less tangible barriers such as a lack of confidence or complicated home lives such as carer responsibilities or disability barriers.
Team Staffordshire Lead Partners from Staffordshire Community Foundation, Business Enterprise Support and the employment and disability charity Landau, have all signed up to this new approach: ‘We want to see long-term, real change for these communities, not another quick fix to get people off unemployment figures; be assured that if we are successful, we will work with residents, not ‘do to them’.
The applications were submitted at the end of November and Team Staffordshire expects to know the outcome in the new year, fingers crossed!
Team Staffordshire acts in accordance with its cooperation agreement and currently involves the following core partners:
- Business Enterprise Support
- Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce
- Staffordshire Community Foundation
- Engaging Communities
- Sports Across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent
- Staffordshire Council of Voluntary Youth Services (SCVYS)
- South Staffordshire Council
- South Staffordshire and Shropshire NHS Foundation Trust
- North Staffordshire YMCA
- Support Staffordshire
- South Staffordshire Community & Voluntary Action (SSCVA)
In addition, the group is actively supported by: