Voluntary Norfolk join partners in new £4.9m CHANCES employment project

Voluntary Norfolk’s Employment Services Team are part of a new £4.9million partnership project to help people get back into work and to support people that may find it difficult to work due to their health.

The Norfolk County Council led Chances for Work and Chances Healthy Living projects are being run by partners Voluntary Norfolk, Norfolk Citizens Advice, Citizens Advice Diss, Thetford and District, and Future Projects. There will be local advocates based in each of the seven Norfolk district areas and these advocates will be working to provide personalised one to one support.

The scheme will provide specially designed help for people who are not able to access current national support schemes. Depending on the needs of the individual the support could include help to identify skills gaps and finding suitable training and qualifications, support to access services to boost health and wellbeing, or finding ways to overcome any barriers such as transport or accessing childcare. Support could also include providing help to access services for those with physical or learning disabilities, or support from a mental health specialist or disability support specialist who will be working closely with the team.

Ben Sampson Head of Employment Services, Voluntary Norfolk, said: “The arrival of Chances is particularly timely and we are proud to be involved with this important project. It will help us to better support people furthest from the labour market, while giving a much needed boost to local residents left out of work by Covid-19.  Together with our existing employability projects such as Skills Connect and Norfolk Community College, Voluntary Norfolk is now able to offer employment advice and support to anyone out of work, whatever their age, and irrespective of the length of time they have been unemployed.’

Cllr Graham Plant, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for growing the economy, said: “The project aims to understand the needs of individuals and to provide tailored support for people who may be long term unemployed, facing barriers to finding work, and also now those who have become unemployed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Over the next two-and-a half-years our project partners will be using their good local knowledge and expertise to provide much needed targeted support to people across Norfolk. This on the ground support is one of the many ways we’re seeking to help boost opportunities for Norfolk people as we look to recover from the pressures of the pandemic.”

The project is administered by Norfolk County Council and has a total budget of £4.9 million, of which £2.5m is funded by the European Social Fund. The other half of the funding comes from match-funders based in Norfolk including Norfolk County Council, The New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, and Norfolk’s Pooled Business Rates Programme.

Further information

For more information about the project visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/chances