Norwich charity leads bid to help young people

There are 7 Norfolk charities teaming up to help the most disadvantaged young people in Norfolk with

There are 7 Norfolk charities teaming up to help the most disadvantaged young people in Norfolk with European social funding.From left to right, Tony Oram (Project Manager), Claire Stone (Head of HR and Technology), Lou Gardiner (Managing Director ACE), Fiona Costello (Service Connector: Complex Case Manager), Ros Czarnowska (CEO Nansa), Esther Heybourne, On Track Lead, The Matthew Project) and Paul Martin (CEO, The Matthew Project). - Credit: Archant

A Norwich-based charity is leading a bid for a £1.6m grant to transform the lives of around 500 young people and their families.

The Matthew Project has teamed up with other charities NANSA, the Prince's Trust, Gyros, YMCA and the Norwich Mind plus Community Interest Company ACE for the bid, which will fund training and employment for hard-to-reach young people with complex needs.

The project, called On Track, plans to use Big Lottery Fund and European Social Fund money to provide life coaching, training and in-work support for young people with disabilities, mental health or language disadvantages.

Matthew Project chief executive Paul Martin said the bid followed months of planning, consultations and workshops.

Mr Martin said: 'It is great to see what can happen with charities, businesses and government come together like this.

'We plan to help 531 young people from challenging backgrounds to overcome major barriers and move into training, education and employment.

'The project will open up opportunities and we would work alongside employers to make it happen.'

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He added: 'It could transform the lives of hundreds of families – and even the future children of those we reach over project's three-year lifespan.'

If successful, the funds will be utilised in Norfolk between 2017 and 2020.

Mr Martin said: 'The charity collaboration is exciting and demonstrates a progressive model of joined up thinking.

'Now we can really hone the proposal to meet the rigorous demands of European Social Funding and the Big Lottery objectives.'

Established by the European Union, the Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations.

The Department for Work and Pensions is the managing authority for the European Social Fund programme.

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