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03 December 2015

Boost to help long term Worcestershire unemployed into work

Today the Big Lottery and Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership announced that Fusion, a consortium of 24 Worcestershire based not for profit organisations had been successful in moving forward to stage two to develop full proposals for the investment of £1 million of Lottery and European Social Investment Funding to help long term unemployed into work.

The Worcestershire Building Better Opportunities has been shaped by the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and is part of the European Social Investment Fund 2014-2020 programme to invest in local projects tackling the root causes of poverty, promoting social inclusion and driving local jobs and growth.

In Worcestershire the principal Housing Associations and Redditch Borough Housing came together with a range of local and specialist Voluntary Sector Organisations, Heart of Worcestershire College and the Health and Care Trust to form Fusion. By working together, Fusion can help those needing extra support into work. This includes people with disabilities, adults with learning disabilities, long term unemployed, ex-offenders and young people with no work experience.

Clare Huyton, Chair of Fusion and Executive Director Housing, Care & Communities with Fortis Living commented, ‘The Worcestershire voluntary sector and housing providers have led on work helping some of the most vulnerable people into employment. We are delighted that this is now being recognised and collectively we will receive external funding which will allow us to help more people.’

Gary Woodman, Executive Director of Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership commented, ‘We have been working with the local voluntary sector and housing providers to develop ideas on how best to use this funding and we are delighted they have been successful in their bid. Businesses in Worcestershire are committed to bringing prosperity to the county and all its residents. This investment will ensure those furthest from the labour market, will receive the right support to help them into sustained employment so they can both contribute and benefit from the growing economy’.

Vestia Community Trust has engaged and worked with a range of voluntary sector organizations during the last two years to establish the partnership and submitted the bids for Building Better Opportunities. Marina Banner, Executive Director - Vestia & Corporate Services said ‘This is a big challenge but collectively the partners working together can achieve the targets set by the Big Lottery and Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership. We know the difference that being in employment can make in people’s lives and Fusion partners have the skills to help those who need it’

Claire Heywood, Assistant Principal Inclusive and Employer Learning, said:

The Fusion partnership possesses the unique capability and capacity to deliver this project successfully to enabling positive engagement and high impact outcomes for those members of our local community who need this support. Fusion can provide real solutions to real barriers, delivering on the ground and face to face through this vibrant and pro-active network of partners. Heart of Worcestershire College is delighted to be a part of Fusion and we are confident this project will deliver the results we know are possible through this new and exciting collaborative approach.