‘Building Better Opportunities’ to help disadvantaged people across Somerset.

A partnership of five Somerset organisations has been successful with a stage one application for the ‘Building Better Opportunities’ programme in Somerset. 

Building Better Opportunities is a project jointly funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund.

The new proposals, called ‘Positive People’ will engage with and help Somerset’s most socially excluded communities return to employment, education and training.

The partnership plans to support over 1,000 individuals who are out of work and face a range of barriers to build their skills, confidence and motivation. This will include people with disabilities, people with 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 now work with the team of partners and other key stakeholders on the stage two bid which, if successful, will allow them to access £4million in funding to deliver the programme over 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 below).

The partners will also work closely with the Heart of the South West LEP, Somerset County and District Councils, communities and participants to co-design the programme.

Pluss’ Chief Executive, Steve Hawkins, said “The partnership is aiming to support hundreds of disadvantaged people across Somerset into sustainable employment.

“Working with the Big Lottery Fund is a proud moment for all five organisations. This result confirms that our partnership in Somerset has the potential to deliver significant positive social change at a time when local devolution means Somerset is taking on more responsibility for its own future.”

A successful outcome at stage two will see delivery of this programme begin in early 2017.

For more information please contact Geraldine Scott-Smith, Communications Manager, on 07766 367267 or at geraldine.scott-smith@pluss.org.uk

Additional Partners:

The additional partners in the bid are Action for Blind, Action on Work and Disability (AWDUK), 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, SPLAT, Surf Action, SW Lakes Trust, Sylvan Adventures, The Growing Space, The Trussell Trust, University of Plymouth-Serio and Yarlington Housing