‘Positive People’ to help Somerset’s most disadvantaged people into work.

A partnership of five Somerset organisations has secured a Big Lottery Fund grant to help Somerset’s most socially excluded communities return to employment, education and training.

The new programme, called ‘Positive People’, will help over 1,000 individuals who are out of work to build their skills, confidence and motivation. This will include people with disabilities, mental health issues, ex-offenders, homeless people and people over 50. 

Support for individuals will include basic literacy and numeracy skills, help to master digital technology, and preparation for work including job search.

The programme aims to benefit local communities by reducing poverty and anti-social behaviour. It will also contribute to the growth of the local economy with employers having access to a pool of people with the relevant skills to meet their needs.

Lead partner Pluss will begin to deliver the £4 million programme in early 2017 for the next three years. The core partners are Pluss, Abilities, Inspired to Achieve, Cosmic and Community Council for Somerset. There are also 41 additional partners across Somerset (listed in note 2).

Pluss’ Chief Executive, Steve Hawkins, said “Positive People will support hundreds of disadvantaged people across Somerset into sustainable employment.

“Securing the funds to deliver this programme is a proud moment for all five organisations. Our Somerset partnership will deliver significant positive social change at a time when local devolution means Somerset is taking on more responsibility for its own future.”

Positive People has been co-designed over the past six months by a range of stakeholders including representatives from local communities, Somerset County and District Councils and the Heart of the South West LEP.

Positive People (part of the Building Better Opportunities programme) is a new project jointly funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund.

Additional partners 
The additional partners in the bid are Action for Blind, WECIL, Action4Inclusion, Adventure Education Trust, Albemarle, Battling On, CAB Mendips, CAB Sedgemoor, CAB South Somerset, CAB Taunton, Careers South West (CSW), Cascade, Community Council for Somerset, Conquest Centre,Creativity Works, Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, Dangerous Dads, Engage, HCT Group, Homestart West Somerset, Learning South West, Mind Taunton Somerset, On Ya Bike, Pop Up Business School, Pre School Learning Alliance, Princes Trust, RIO, Royal Association for Deaf People, Somerset Coop Services, Somerset Rural Youth Project, Somerset Skills and Learning, SPLAT, Surf Action, SW Lakes Trust, Sylvan Adventures, The Growing Space, The Trussell Trust, University of Plymouth-Serio and Yarlington Housing.

About Building Better Opportunities 
The Big Lottery Fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK. It puts people in the lead to improve their lives and communities, often through small local projects. 

It is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. In 2016/17 it awarded £712.7 million and supported more than 13,814 projects across the UK for health, education, environment and charitable purposes. 

Since June 2004 it has awarded over £8.5 billion to projects that change the lives of millions of people. 

The BBO project has received up to £300 million of funding from the Big Lottery Fund and 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, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations. For more information visit www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.