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Funding bid to extend scheme helping young people into work

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Black Country Impact has helped nearly 5,500 young people get a foot on the employment ladder since it started four years ago, new figures show.

It comes as it was revealed Dudley Council, as the lead authority, is to submit a bid for more funding to allow the popular scheme to run until 2023.

Black Country Impact offers help in securing training or a job for all 16 to 29-year-olds who are currently not in employment, education or training. Support includes supplying equipment, as well as providing free clothing, travel, and childcare depending on the needs of the individual.

Black Country Impact has forged close links with more than 100 businesses or training providers. It can offer support in a wide range of sectors, with success stories already in fields such as catering, childcare, construction, hair and beauty, retail and teaching.

It is made up of five partners - Dudley Council, Sandwell Council, Walsall Council, Wolverhampton Council and Black Country Talent Match.

Dudley Council’s ruling cabinet will hear at a meeting next week that the programme to date since August 2015 has engaged with more than 12,000 participants. It has supported almost 5,500 individuals into employment, apprenticeships or further education.

The current contract, funded by the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) and European Social Fund (ESF), and administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), is due to expire in December 2021.

But the cabinet will be asked to approve plans to apply to extend the scheme until 2023 by applying for further grant funding of £15 million. The council and its partners will need to find match funding of £7.5 million to qualify for the full grant, the report says.

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of the council, said:

Black Country Impact is doing an excellent job in giving young people a helping hand to better themselves or get back into work.
Looking at how many young people in the Black Country it has helped, it’s an absolute no-brainer that we would want to extend the scheme and the opportunities it brings for as long as possible.
Subject to cabinet approval, we will be instructing officers to draw up a robust bid to allow us to secure the funding we need to keep it going.

The project is currently receiving up to £34 million of funding, made up of £17 million from the European Social Fund and £17 million from the Youth Employment Initiative. It will also get match funding of up to £8 million from the Big Lottery Fund and other partners.

For more information, go to www.dudley.gov.uk/bcimpact

Notes to editors 

Reference Note
1. European Social Fund – Youth Employment Initiative The project is receiving up to £34 million of funding from the European Social Fund and Youth Employment Initiative as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. The Department for Work and Pensions is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme. Established by the European Union, European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding
2. Black Country Impact project partners and overall funding allocation The Black Country Impact is made up of five partners, Dudley Council, Sandwell Council, Walsall Council, Wolverhampton Council and Black Country Talent Match (Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council project funded by the National Lottery Community Fund). The specific breakdown of funding for the Black Country Impact project is made up of £17 million Youth Employment Initiative funding, £17 million European Social Fund and £17 million of match funding from the five Black Country Partners (which also includes £8 million of match funds from the National Lottery Community Fund). This brings the total value of Black Country Impact project to £51 million, with a completion date for activity of 31 December 2019.
3. National Lottery Community Fund – match funders of the Black Country Impact project The National Lottery Community Fund supports the aspirations of people who want to make life better for their communities across the UK. The National Lottery Community Fund is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by the National Lottery and invests over £650 million a year in projects big and small in health, education, environment and charitable purposes. Since June 2004 the Big Lottery Fund, which is now the National Lottery Community Fund, has awarded over £8 billion to projects that change the lives of millions of people. Every year the National Lottery Community Fund funds 13,000 small local projects tackling big social problems like poor mental health and homelessness. Since the National Lottery began in 1994, £34 billion has been raised and more than 450,000 grants awarded.
4. What is the Black Country Impact The Black Country Impact programme addresses the barriers faced by unemployed individuals aged 15-29 years, supporting them to secure positive outcomes including employment, apprenticeships, training and further education. Our individualised approach and alternative delivery structures provides flexible personalised learning and support that addresses the range of different personal and skills needs of young adults. Access to trusted advice and support, working alongside partners including housing, health, transport and employers to ensure individuals have the best possible opportunity to overcome the range of barriers they face, and to ensure they effectively participate, achieve a positive outcome and remain engaged.
5. Talent Match Funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and focuses on youth unemployment and especially long-term youth unemployment. Black Country Talent Match is a five year, £10.3m project supporting young people aged 18-24 who have been out of work, training or education for at least 12 months and who require additional support to overcome specific barriers to employment. More information can be found at www.bctalentmatch.com. Talent Match is match funding up to £8 million towards the Black Country Impact project.

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