The Marches LEP has welcomed news that the Big Lottery Fund will match funds from the European Social Fund (ESF) in order to support two projects focused on tackling poverty, promoting social inclusion and boosting local economies. The funds, worth over £5m, have been launched as part of the Big Lottery Fund’s Building Better Opportunities’ programme.
The funding is intended to support projects that will provide training, education and volunteering opportunities for people to increase their confidence and learn new skills that will help them on the path to employment.
Across the Marches this is specifically focused on those aged 19 and over who are furthest from employment due to reasons of disability; age; homelessness and deprivation; complex family circumstances; lone parents, carer responsibilities; mental health and those from ethnic minorities.
Gill Hamer, Director of the Marches LEP, comments on the importance of this funding:
“With a clear vision to create and support the conditions for economic vitality and sustainable employment, The Marches LEP wholeheartedly welcomes the release of these funds. It is of vital importance that ALL people in the region are provided with the learning and training opportunities to increase their confidence and learn new skills that will put them on the path to employment.”
The Big Lottery Fund has worked in partnership with the Marches LEP to identify local need and priorities and project outlines have been launched which set out what each project will need to achieve. Applications are now open to organisations which feel well placed to lead these projects and voluntary, community and social enterprise groups, especially those which have historically found it hard to access EU funding, are being particularly encouraged to apply.
In the Marches, two projects have been identified. These respectively cover Herefordshire and Shropshire with Telford & Wrekin and whilst separate, there is an expectation that the projects will liaise and consider opportunities for joint work whilst learning from one another.
Further details can be found by visiting https://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/esf