A plan for a life-enhancing £2.4 million project, led by Groundwork NE & Cumbria, is the only one in County Durham to have got through stage one of the process to secure funding through Building Better Opportunities, a Big Lottery Fund and European Social Fund initiative.
If successful at the next stage in 2016, the Reaching Out Across Durham (ROAD) project will help point people in the right direction to gain the necessary skills and confidence to find work.
Building Better Opportunities sees the Big Lottery Fund matching funds from European Social Fund (ESF) 2014-2020, to provide joint investment in local projects that tackle poverty and promote social inclusion and drive local jobs and growth. Over the next few years the funding will be delivered in 38 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas according to local priorities.
Kate Culverhouse, Chief Executive of Groundwork NE & Cumbria, said: “It is a great achievement to be the only project in County Durham to have passed the rigorous assessments to reach Round 2 of the funding process.
“Groundwork NE & Cumbria and its partners believe that we have submitted a compelling, strong evidence-based case for the Building Better Opportunities funding and are looking forward to hearing our bidding outcome in May 2016.”
If the funding bid is successful, the three-year ROAD programme would work with 650 people, whose needs are not being met by current services, making it extremely difficult for them to overcome challenges that are preventing them from entering employment.
By bringing together a partnership of 12 well-respected and driven organisations, ROAD would reach out to individuals and help them turn their lives around by accessing training, education, volunteering and ultimately employment.
The focus would be on engaging with people through avenues such as art, sport, IT, community events and the environment as well as using an extensive network of partners.
The partners involved in the ROAD bid are: Groundwork, Changing Lives, Cornforth Partnership, County Durham Citizen’s Advice Bureau, CDC Enterprise Agency, Developing Initiatives for Support in the Community (DISC), Durham Christian Partnership, Durham Community Action, Finchale Training College, Jack Drum Arts, and Pioneering Care Partnership.