£2.4M to tackle unemployment in rural Leicestershire for those most in need


A partnership of eight voluntary and public-sector organisations led by sight loss charity Vista have been awarded £2.4m funding from the European Social Fund and Big Lottery Fund through the Building Better Opportunities programme. 

The Work.Live.Leicestershire (WiLL) partnership will help more than 500 people in rural Leicestershire who are unemployed or 'economically inactive' – for example those studying, carers or on long term sick – move into job search, training or employment.

WiLL All logos

De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) researchers from the Leicester Academy for the Study of Ageing (LASA) will evaluate the programme, which begins with consultations involving more than 200 people to look at what gaps there are in current services. It aims to provide access to holistic, tailored support and break down the barriers to people entering work or learning. It hopes to help people to improve their health and wellbeing, gain skills and work experience, and have improved confidence, motivation and social engagement.

Partners will also work with employers to identify and develop supported employment opportunities and help people to start their own business through a business advice programme. The programme will run from January 2019 to June 2020.

Dr Jamie Mackrill, Director of New Opportunities at Vista said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the £2.45 million from the European Social Fund and the Big Lottery Fund’s Building Better Opportunities programme. The money means we can support people furthers from the jobs market who live in rural Leicestershire by providing holistic support to meet their need. We can also build links across the county with employers to make access to work more inclusive for these people as well as encourage people to start their own ventures that benefit the local community and economy. We have a great partnership with real local knowledge of Leicestershire and will work together to build a better infrastructure in these areas.”

Professor Jayne Brown, Professor of Nursing, said: "As the Sunday Times University of the Year for Social inclusion. it is highly appropriate that De Montfort University join Vista and partners in promoting employment for those furthest from the job market.  Providing holistic support to make access to work, education and training more inclusive.

"We are delighted that the European Social Fund and the Big Lottery Fund’s Building Better Opportunities programme has funded  the Work. Live. Leicestershire (WiLL) partnership."

James Harcourt, England Grant-Making Director at the Big Lottery Fund, said: “We are proud to be funding this project, which has put people who will benefit at the heart of designing the programme, so they receive support that is tailored to their needs. Thanks to National Lottery players and the European Social Fund, people in Leicestershire will be provided with the opportunity to learn new skills, helping them move closer to employment and training.”

 Work.Live.Leicestershire (WiLL) is one programme being delivered in 38 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas, according to local priorities set by the LEPs themselves. Work.Live.Leicestershire (WiLL) is a partnership of 8 organisations; Vista, CASE, De Montfort University, Leicestershire County Council, Prince’s Trust, Rural Community Council, Voluntary Action Leicestershire, and Workers’ Educational Association. 

Posted on Tuesday 27th November 2018

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