Grants for projects in King’s Lynn, Norwich and Suffolk which help people back into work

The Purfleet Trust, King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

The Purfleet Trust, King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

More people will be helped back into work over the next year, thanks to three community projects which have just been awarded £25,000 each by the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership.

The groups, which were given £20,000 by the LEP's Community Challenge Fund last year, were given follow-up funding to continue their work after impressing judges at a panel session.

The King's Lynn-based Purfleet Trust's 'Learn2Earn' project gives people who are facing multiple barriers to employment such as domestic abuse or bullying at school access to skills, volunteering and work experience.

Headway Suffolk works with people with a neurological condition to help them get back into work, providing skills including CV writing, driving and interview skills.

Norwich-based Action Community Enterprises''Worksense' offers a new model for engaging unemployed young people with employers, through setting competitive vocational challenges.

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Alan was supported by the Purfleet Trust after a car accident that left him with severe leg injuries. He could not manage his job in a food factory as it required him to stand for many hours.

He became depressed and started to drink heavily. His relationship broke down and he became homeless. After six months of sofa surfing Alan was advised by the job centre to speak to the Purfleet Trust, which helped him get a job driving a forklift truck.

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'No-one understands what it is like to have your whole life ruined due to someone not taking care on the road,' he said. 'My whole life turned upside down. I was depressed, I believed my life was over, honestly.

'I will never forget how much Lucy and the Purfleet helped me. I feel like a full human being again. I can hold my head up high knowing I am earning my own money again. This project has literally saved my life.'

Paula Hall, chief executive of the Purfleet Trust, said: 'We have learned from our first year that the model we have developed really works for those marginalised groups who feel they will not be able to access employment via conventional channels. Nineteen people with multiple barriers to employment found paid work as a result of the LEP investment last year.

'Lucy Shaw our employability coach is passionate about supporting people who need help to access employment and will build on the success of Learn2Earn employability project supporting more than 30 people into work over the coming year.'

Helen Fairweather from Headway Suffolk, said it had helped 27 people into work last year. She added: 'This important grant funding will be used to set up a social enterprise offering employment to people with a neurological condition with any surplus income being used to further strengthen Headway Suffolk.'

Lou Gardiner, managing director, Action Community Enterprises, said: 'We are delighted that the LEP has recognised the value of the work that was undertaken in year one of our project and has given us this opportunity to further develop our programme.'

Doug Field, New Anglia LEP board member, said: 'These three projects have shown they deserve the chance to build on their work so far, and continue to make a real difference to the lives of people across the east, while also adding value to our region's economy.'

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