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

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

The new programme, called ‘Positive People’, will help over 1,300 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 £5 million programme in early 2017 for the next three years. The core partners are Pluss, Tomorrow’s People, Westward Pathfinder, Cosmic, Devon Community Foundation, Torbay Community Development Trust and Plymouth Octopus Project. There are also 55 additional partners across Devon, Plymouth and Torbay (listed below).

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

“Securing the funds to deliver this programme is a proud moment for all seven organisations. Our Devon partnership will deliver significant positive social change at a time when local devolution means Devon 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, Devon County, Plymouth City and Torbay Councils, Devon 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 Information
The additional partners in the bid are Acacia Training and Development Ltd, Action for Blind, WECIL, Active Plus, Authentis, Battling On, Broadreach, Careers South West (CSW), Churches Housing Action Team (CHAT), Cinnabar, Community Housing Aid, Cornwall College, Dangerous Dads, Devon CAB, East Devon Volunteer Support Agency, Eat That Frog, EDP, Effervescent Social Alchemy, Encompass Southwest, Exeter YMCA, Freedom Community Alliance, HCT Group, Hikmat Devon, Motiv8, Norpro, North Devon Homes Ltd, North Prospect Community Learning, Open Doors, Opportunity Plus, Organic Arts, Petroc, Play Torbay, Plymouth Community Homes, Plymouth Sports Academy, Plymouth YMCA, Pop-up Business School, RiSE, Royal Association for Deaf People, Shekinah Mission, Sound Communities, South Devon College, SPLAT, St Sidwells, Surf Action, SW Lakes, Sylvan Adventures, The Creativity Centre Educational Trust, The Trussell Trust, Torbay CAB, United Response, University of Plymouth-Serio, Westward Housing, Wings South West and WKUK.

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

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