Positive People is transforming lives

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BL an ESF logoPluss' Positive People project is giving people who find themselves trapped in difficult circumstances a way to get active in their local community, learn new skills and increase their confidence.

Positive People, funded by the Big Lottery Fund and European Social Fund, is reaching out to individuals who are out of work through a range of fun activities where they can meet new people and begin to plan for their future. The initiative, which runs across the South West and West Yorkshire will see around 5,000 people benefit from the scheme.

We caught up with Avril Bankes-Fay, Partnership Manager for the scheme in Devon.

Avril said: “The Positive People initiative gently helps people rebuild their confidence and develop new life skills. In some cases this has meant people finding their way back into education, training or employment.”

Small steps, big changes

The project offers users a life-line, using a very simple formula. “For many people simply coming along to an event or group activity is a massive first step.” says Avril, “We start by engaging in activities that everyone can enjoy, sometimes with family members. That can be anything from photography, mountain biking or even our hugely popular ‘Lego for grown-ups’ sessions.”

"The sessions are run by project partners Pluss, Cosmic and Torbay Community Development Trust. From here, those who feel they would benefit from our continued support are introduced to one of our ‘change coaches’ who will help guide them through a tailored programme of activities.

“This looks different for everyone”, says Avril, “For some people it may be about learning new digital skills, support with literacy or numeracy and for others it may be increasing their confidence by spending time with others or volunteering. For some it may involve further bespoke support from one of our specialist partners such as help with self esteem, anxiety, access to benefits or housing and financial advice. As people move through the programme we can also offer support with preparing for work, job search or interview skills if employment is something they are keen to pursue.”