£2.1 million of European funding set for Wisbech to help those with extra needs find work and learn new skills

The Community House in Wisbech could be among projects that could benefit from European funding whic

The Community House in Wisbech could be among projects that could benefit from European funding which is expected to be confirmed in the next few weeks for a Community Led Local Development project aimed at helping the town's long-term unemployed with extra needs. The funding will be the culmination of four years of work by a partnership of local organisations. - Credit: Archant

Wisbech is on the brink of receiving £2.1 million of European cash to help the town's most deprived areas.

The funding will be the culmination of nearly four years work by local authorities and groups such as the Rosmini Centre, Community House, the Ferry Project and the Oasis Centre.

The money will be paid out over five years to the Community Led Local Development project from the EU's social funds and is aimed at helping people gain new skills and increase their chances of getting a job.

Councillor Virginia Bucknor, who with husband Mike represents the Waterlees Village ward on Fenland which is classed as one of the most deprived areas in the country, said: 'This is fantastic news.'

Cllr Bucknor said: 'It is really exciting; this is something we have been saying is needed for years. The partnership has worked really hard to secure this money and full credit should go to them for this success.

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'Wisbech ticks all the wrong boxes when it comes to deprivation, and things like illiteracy, so this funding is vital in helping those most in need.

'The really positive thing about the CLLD is that it is being paid over five years, which means it is not just a one off amount for one year - so just when something good gets up and running the money runs out. It can have a long-term effect.

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'The other great thing is that how the money is spent will be decided locally by an action group. It is reliant on match-funding but as Keith Smith from the Ferry Project pointed out at the briefing they already receive over £200,000 of funding from the county council, so we don't even have to worry about finding money.'

Carl Suckling, senior community support officer, said the money will help to continue the work of Community House in supporting long-term unemployed people who have additional needs.

Funding for Community House, from the Department for Work and Pensions is due to finish at the end of the month but Mr Suckling said there is potentially other funding in the pipeline with an announcement on that expected within the next couple of weeks.

The CLLD will take a 'bottom up' approach to tackling local barriers to the labour market for example: poor basic skills, lack of motivation and confidence, mental and physical health problems, caring responsibilities, digital exclusion, and drug and alcohol dependency.

Cambridgeshire Acre was another of the partners involved in bringing the CLLD application to fruition and they will continue to play a role, offering expertise and impartiality.

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