£160,000 boost for voluntary ventures to get people in Norfolk and Suffolk into work

John Trent, 26, from Norwich, who has been aided by the Moving Forward programme run by Norwich char

John Trent, 26, from Norwich, who has been aided by the Moving Forward programme run by Norwich charity Equal Lives. - Credit: Submitted

Projects which aim to help the most disadvantaged people in Norfolk and Suffolk get into work are to share a slice of £160,000.

Eight voluntary and social enterprise schemes have been picked to get £20,000 each through the New Anglia LEP's Community Challenge Fund.

The long-term unemployed, and those suffering from mental ill health, disabilities or homelessness are the focus of the projects, which range from bike mechanic workshops and forest schools to stage shows, sports coaching and gardening.

New Anglia LEP worked with Norfolk Community Foundation and Suffolk Community Foundation to select the successful projects, which aim to get 250 people ready for work and 75 into paid employment by the end of next year.

The successful projects are:

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• Equal Lives, Norwich – for its Moving Forward project to develop confidence, motivation, skills and education needs for disabled people

• Bicycle Links, Norwich - for its Wheels to Work project. The project trains people in mechanics, retail, stock management and health and safety for the cycle and adventure industry

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• Harleston Information Plus – for its Jobs Club on Show scheme, which uses a stage show to give jobseekers skills in production, hospitality, marketing and retail

• Access Community Trust in Lowestoft. The trust provides personal mentoring, forum theatre and outdoor forest schools for the long-term out of work, including the homeless and those with drug or alcohol issues.

• GYROS, Great Yarmouth - for its Get Yourself Working project. The project involves an employment academy and enterprise hub, offering support and training to prepare for work for people with disabilities, mental health issues and migrant workers

• Museum of East Anglian Life, Stowmarket. The money is for its Work to Achieve project, which trains in heritage, conservation, estate management and horticulture, office administration and visitor services for disadvantaged young people

• Suffolk Sport's Be Inspired project. That provides training, community volunteering and sports and coaching qualifications for 16 to 24-year-olds

• Julian Support, Suffolk. The cash is for its Recovery into Work scheme. That is a new social enterprise to provide skills in garden maintenance for those with mental health issues.

Graham Tuttle, chief executive of the Norfolk Community Foundation, said: 'The New Anglia LEP Challenge Fund has proven that the voluntary and community sector has an important role to play in helping those furthest from the job market to train and ultimately engage back in the workforce.'

Louise Humphries, strategic lead and business development manager at Great Yarmouth-based GYROS, welcomed the boost for her scheme.

She said: 'The funding from New Anglia LEP will support a new work hub, open to all Great Yarmouth residents and designed for those furthest from the labour market.

'We will offer a bespoke service, assessing the needs of each person and offering training and workshops in preparation for work.'

• Have you been helped by one of the projects? Tell us your story by writing to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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