Not-for-profit organisation Active Lancashire has successfully secured additional funding from the European Social Fund, to extend the thriving More Positive Together programme until December 2023.
More Positive Together has been part of the 2014-2020 European Social Fund (ESF) growth programme in England, and has brought together an effective range of partners such as housing associations, local authorities and third sector organisations who have helped residents of some of the County’s most deprived areas improve their skills and employment prospects.
The second phase of the programme coincided with the Covid-19 pandemic and the national lockdown, which saw a switch to online activities for the mentors. This, however, didn’t stop over 5,140 participants benefitting from the programme, with 17% in training or education following their More Positive Together journey, and 16% in employment of self-employment. Both of these figures are higher than the Active Lancashire’s predicted targets, demonstrating the commitment and determination of the partners and the importance of the support it has been delivering across Lancashire.
"We are delighted to have secured additional funding resources that will allow the partners to continue delivering the project until December 2023”, explains Darren Wright, Operations Manager (Social Inclusion) at Active Lancashire.
“The support will continue for those furthest from the labour market and will provide tailored support for individuals who are looking for employment. We are seeing a rise now with employers looking to recruit, so this is a great time for people looking to get into work who are involved with More Positive Together."
More Positive Together has been providing a range of opportunities for personal development such as participation in environmental and arts activities, training programmes to establish new skills or access to valuable work experience opportunities, through a number of external agencies such as mental health organisations, training providers and activity providers.
In addition to managing the project, Active Lancashire has also developed a wellbeing offer, encouraging engagement in sport and physical activity to improve health and wellbeing, build confidence and engage in positive social interactions.
Rizwana Zaahid, from Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, a More Positive Together partner, is delighted with the extension:
“This is brilliant news, we are delighted to be able to continue the fantastic work with Active Lancashire and partners to deliver More Positive Together. The project has allowed us to break-down barriers for residents who needed our support the most. People have been empowered to achieve their goals, our support workers have been able to build confidence, support upskilling through training and get back into the world of work.”
“We are extremely proud of the achievements of residents, some have been out of work for a long time, making work a daunting prospect. The project continuing will mean we can benefit more local people who have become more disadvantaged due to the ongoing challenges of the pandemic”.