West Midlands | BBO | Connecting Choices

The Connecting Choices, Big Lottery and ESF-funded project, started at the end of 2016 and aims to provide holistic support for disadvantaged people who are not in work within Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme, and Staffordshire Moorlands. It is targeted in areas with high levels of multiple deprivation as well as more rural communities. This includes:

Stoke-on-Trent: Baddeley, Milton & Norton, Bentilee & Ubberley, Etruria & Hanley, Tunstall, Burslem Central, Burslem South, Meir North, Blurton West & Newstead, Abbey Hulton & Townsend

Newcastle-under-Lyme: Chesterton, Holditch, Keele, Silverdale & Parksite, Cross Heath, Town

Staffordshire Moorlands: Biddulph East, Cheadle (rural access issues), Leek North

The project will work with 2431 unemployed and economically inactive people aged 16+ who are at most risk of social exclusion to help them progress into training, education, volunteering and work. This may include individuals:

  • With health, mental health or learning difficulties;
  • Recovering from substance misuse problems;
  • Who are resident in large social housing schemes;
  • Who are carers;
  • That are NEET (young people not in employment, education or training);
  • With low skills or qualifications;
  • From ethnic minority groups;

 

The project aims to:

  • Improve social inclusion
  • Improve employability skills to enable people to take up employment
  • Improve the take up of vocational learning including apprenticeships
  • Increase levels of work experience and volunteering
  • Improve confidence and self-esteem
  • Improve levels of digital engagement to access services and employment opportunities
  • Improve financial capacity and money management skills
  • Improve access to childcare

 

To date the project has supported more than 1436 participants throughout North Staffordshire, Newcastle under Lyme and the Staffordshire Moorlands and has supported 110 participants to enter education to increase their skills in certain sectors, 180 participants have achieved employment and 45 participants have moved from being inactive to actively job seeking.