Three St Vincent de Paul Society centres are calling on communities to back a campaign to help the rising unemployed population in some of the country’s most deprived regions find work and regain their dignity.
The St Vincent’s centres, which are run by the SVP, are seeking support in a bid to access funds from the £500,000 LNER Customer and Community Investment Fund, which supports projects which “mitigate the social need and therefore help to create a more inclusive, prosperous and connected community.”
The SVP project bid, Expanding Horizons, is being jointly proposed by teams at its centres in Leeds, Bradford and Newcastle. The project aims to help marginalised adults who are currently not in paid employment, including people experiencing homelessness, ex-offenders, people with refugee or asylum seeker status, and people who are unemployed and facing financial difficulties exacerbated by the pandemic.
Expanding Horizons aims to tackle the situation through job clubs, classes and workshops which will give people who are experiencing unemployment practical skills and the confidence to gain and retain paid work. The support includes creating a CV and covering letter, interview and communication skills, and building confidence through volunteering and focussed activities.
St Vincent’s Leeds centre manager Sheena Eastwood says: “We want to respond to the economic impact that Covid is having in the more deprived wards of our community by offering employability training in a supported environment, giving people confidence and the opportunity to regain their dignity. We are asking the public to visit the LNER Customer and Community Investment Fund website and register their support for our scheme. It is vital that we bring this funding to these cities at a time when they need it most.”
Data from the Office of National Statistics suggests Leeds has been hit hard by the pandemic with an unemployment rate in September 2020 of 4.2%, and redundancies across Yorkshire rising by 60% over the last year.
Meanwhile, Bradford District ranks fifth in the most income deprived local authorities of England and is sixth in the most employment deprived areas of the country, with an average of 11% of the community claiming out-of-work benefits, and 13% of working-age individuals have no qualifications.
Newcastle is also feeling the economic fall-out from the pandemic. According to the Index of Multiple Deprivation, Newcastle is ranked 23rd most deprived local authority in England, with St Vincent’s Newcastle bordering the wards of Byker and Walker, two of the most deprived areas of the city. The SVP also runs two Approved Premises supporting 47 individuals who have recently left prison, many of whom have experienced a lifetime of social and economic exclusion.
The St Vincent’s project uses a unique personalised approach with each service user receiving a bespoke package of support tailored to their needs, which will prepare the learner for progression to accredited qualifications and vocational courses.
As part of the Expanding Horizons project, participants will have the opportunity to volunteer at the St Vincent’s centres where they can develop skills and boost their CV with on-the-job experience and gain the confidence to enter the working world.
St Vincent’s Newcastle centre manager Emma Bell adds: “We have experienced a sharp rise in the number of people needing support at St Vincent’s centres as a result of unemployment due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Some of the most marginalised people in our communities who fall outside of the mainstream back-to-work schemes will be directly supported through this project, but we need your help to be awarded the funding, so please register your support for Expanding Horizons on the LNER Customer and Community Investment Fund website to redress the wave of unemployment sweeping our cities.”
To support the SVP’s Expanding Horizons project, please register your support by following these simple steps:
- Click the link: https://survey.alchemer.eu/s3/90343262/LNER-Customer-and-Community-Investment-Fund-survey
- Select ‘Education and Employability’
- Select ‘St Vincent de Paul: Expanding Horizons’ as your preference
- Select ‘Education and Employability’ as your preference
Thank you for your support.