New Government funded service will help struggling jobseekers aged 25 and over in Preston “Move Forward”
A new service that aims to support 88 residents in Preston who have complex employment issues into work has launched this month, with Preston Council approving its delivery with funding sourced through the Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).
The project, called Move Forward, is set to run until March 2024, and aims to empower residents in Preston and Pendle who are currently facing multiple barriers to employment. It differs from other services, such as those delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions, in that it aims to provide tailored support to individuals who are facing a more complex range of barriers. These include having limited work experience, physical or mental health issues, caregiver responsibilities, a lack of aspiration, substance abuse issues, language barriers, experience of domestic violence, homelessness and more.
Move Forward will work with each participant to meet their needs and challenges. It will provide them with access to job seeking support, volunteering and workplace opportunities, free training – including maths, English for speakers of other languages and digital skills - and optional free lifestyle activities to boost confidence and wellbeing of participants.
The new service is managed by two major social businesses, Selnet and the charity Active Lancashire, alongside a network of delivery partners who will provide tailored mentoring, employment support and more. In Preston these will include several local organisations; Lancashire Women, Lancashire Wildlife Trust, Onward, Beanstalk, the Foxton Centre, Integrated Care Board, Lancashire Community Finance and PHX Training.
Both organisations managing Move Forward have experience delivering very similar projects in the recent past across Lancashire with funding from the European Social Fund, including Selnet’s Building Better Opportunities and Active Lancashire’s MPT Steps.
In addition to Preston, Move Forward is also set to support 21 people in Pendle, following a similar agreement for the service to be delivered on behalf of Pendle Council.
Adrian Leather, CEO of Active Lancashire, said, "Move Forward embodies our commitment to helping individuals in Lancashire reach their full potential. We believe that personal and professional development are intertwined, and this initiative reflects our dedication to fostering growth on all levels. As with employment and skills projects that we currently manage on behalf of other councils, activity sessions will be used to support the skills and motivation of those we work with.”
Alison Davies, Programme Manager at Selnet, said, "We have always been dedicated to creating opportunities for individuals to overcome the difficulties they face. Move Forward embodies this commitment, offering a comprehensive support package and guidance for those who need help to get into work. We are excited to be part of this collaborative effort."
Councillor Jennifer Mein, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said, “Preston Council is proud to work with Selnet and Active Lancashire, as well as a range of local partners who have been engaged to deliver the Move Forward project. This aligns perfectly with our commitment to support and uplift our community members facing various challenges in their job search journey. This initiative will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the lives of many residents in our area."
Move Forward has received £232,413.12 from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund with most of the funding is being allocated to local delivery partners, which in turn is also supporting local business growth. £180,000 of this total has been awarded via Preston Council and £52,413.12 has been awarded via Pendle Council.
Find out more about Move Forward at www.moveforward.org.uk
The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-shared-prosperity-fund-prospectus
Photo from left: Adrian Leather, Alison Davies and Peter Griffiths (Preston Council Programme Manager) outside Preston market hall.