Active Lancashire, the strategic lead for Sport and Physical Activity in Lancashire, has successfully secured an additional £3m from the European Social Fund to continue to deliver their flagship community project, More Positive Together.
The injection of additional funding means that the project is supported until December 2021, allowing more time for Lancashire residents living in the most deprived communities to receive vital support to help improve their skills and employment prospects.
More Positive Together, a partnership which includes eight housing providers, three local authorities and a number of third sector organisations, came into fruition in April 2017 and was initially funded until December 2019. The aim of the project was to engage 2,250 eligible Lancashire residents who face multiple barriers to employment such as substance misuse, mental and physical health problems or a history of offending and providing them with 1-2-1 support to develop an action plan tailored to their individual needs. Participants who engage with the project have access to a wide range of opportunities which can support their personal development such as environmental and arts activities, training programmes to establish new skills, or physical activity sessions to build confidence and social interaction skills.
The project to date has been extremely successful, and in December 2019 had engaged more than 2,800 participants, far surpassing the target of 2,250. Within this number there were 322 homeless people and 532 aged over 50, whilst 663 people moved into employment and 710 into education or training. Not only has the project had a huge impact on participants’ lives - it has also positively influenced Housing Associations partners, who have come together for the first time in Lancashire to share best practise and work together to achieve the best outcomes for their tenants.
The success of the project has understandably sparked a great deal of interest from a range of stakeholders who wish to be part of the innovative, forward-thinking initiative, thus as the next round of funding arrives, so too will four new partners from across Lancashire. Calico, Blackburn with Darwen Council, Lancashire Wildlife Trust and Lancashire Colleges will all add to the opportunities available to participants and to the strong, well-established partnership, helping to further expand coverage across Lancashire’s communities.
Active Lancashire has been the driving force behind the More Positive Together project since its inception, bringing together partners from a range of different sectors who would not have previously engaged in working together. They have also successfully influenced change amongst partners, with physical activity and well- being now being considered as key areas of focus within their policies and agendas.
The project looks set to build on the successful foundations laid out over the past three years, delivering life-changing outcomes for residents living in Lancashire. The new target of 4,068 participants engaged has been set for December 2021, which if history is anything to go by, seems more than achievable for the dynamic partnership.
Service Development Manager at Active Lancashire, Carol Ross, who has worked closely with partner leads from the More Positive Together project, commented on the confirmation of future funding saying:
“We are absolutely delighted with the news that we will be able to continue delivering the More Positive Together Project. The impact the project has had on people’s lives is incredible, so it’s great to have been given the opportunity to engage with more Lancashire residents who could greatly benefit from the support provided through the project – none of which would be possible without our strong team of partners or the funding from the European Social Fund."