The Building Better Opportunities (BBO) project brings together funding from the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund (ESF) to help tackle the poverty and social exclusion faced by the most disadvantaged people in Shropshire. Run in conjunction with the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the project aims to provide pre-employment support within Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin for all disadvantaged people from all ethnic backgrounds that are 19 and over who are not in work.
SHA aim to identify and address some of the barriers to work that are facing people in our catchment area, such as living in one of the market towns in rural locations, which often makes travelling difficult and time consuming. The project focuses on those who are furthest from the labour market, helping them to engage in activity and move forwards into employment.
Other local issues that are also being addressed by SHA are homelessness, poverty, high unemployment, part time positions, zero hour contracts and in some areas problems with addiction.
We aim to improve participants confidence by offering support, both one-to-one and in groups, which will lead to improved self esteem and the self belief in their own abilities. We will assist them in accessing opportunities to attend job clubs that will give them the skills to be able to write CVs, develop interview techniques, IT skills and any other area of development identified.
The Shropshire Housing Alliance are unique in that they have different teams offering housing advice, support in welfare benefits, housing support, managing finances and sustaining tenancies. This will include accessing funds to pay for travel to job interviews, volunteering placements and some training venues. We can also help people to access volunteering opportunities to develop practical skills which they can take forward into the job market.
Some of our feedback from successful participants:
“I feel more confident now applying for courses, thanks for your help”
“Genuinely brilliant! I wouldn’t be back in work if it wasn’t for them”
“They did their best to help me, and I managed to get on a fantastic course”
“I am so much more confident now;
I really want to look at starting my own business”
“BBO is a brilliant way to help people; I found other avenues to achieve my goals”
Through a partnership of 19 partners the project will provide access to a wide and diverse range of volunteering opportunities, enabling more disadvantage people to move into further education or training have acquired basic skills.
The project was set up to run for three years, to date we have had 35 referrals and 18 engaging with the project. These figures include three now in training, and one person has found employment.