Lottery-funded project seeking to reduce levels of unemployment

PUBLISHED: 08:00 08 March 2018

Team North Somerset aim to get people into work across the area.

Team North Somerset aim to get people into work across the area.

Archant

The number of people unemployed across North Somerset could change thanks to a lottery-funded project.

The West of England Works (WOEW) project aims to help unemployed and economically inactive young people and adults across the South West.

Overall, it will support more than 1,500 people in gaining employment, work experience or training schemes.

The two-year project is part of the Building Better Opportunities programme, which has received £6million of funding from the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund, which must be spent before its December 2019 deadline.

WOEW employs geographic partners to oversee their respective areas and support people from different backgrounds.

Team North Somerset was chosen for the region and its operations manager, Sue Estcourt, is pleased with progress so far.

She said: “We have arranged coffee mornings and workshops in cafés and garden centres in Portishead, Clevedon and Banwell to help people make steps towards employment opportunities.

“We want to reduce social isolation and allow people to progress into work by whatever means we can, regardless of their circumstances.

“Unemployment has fallen in recent years and we are trying to keep it falling.”

There was a 63 per cent drop in unemployment across North Somerset in 2017, with the latest statistics from last July showing 1,225 people were registered as unemployed, with 260 of them aged between 18 and 24.

MORE: Drop in unemployment in North Somerset.

According to WOEW project manager, Matthew Hampsock, the programme has recently tried to target people who are economically inactive, meaning those who are neither in work nor seeking employment.

Matthew said: “We want to break down barriers into employment, whether they are based on people’s background, disabilities or long-term health issues and those with a history of substance misuse.

“Seventy five per cent of the people who enrol through our training courses are economically inactive and we are constantly working to reduce this number.”

For more information about Team North Somerset, contact Sue on sue.estcourt@weston.ac.uk or 01934 411573.

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