A new package of funding totalling £11 million aims to tackle poverty and disadvantage in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire and help local people into work.
Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership has allocated money from its European Social Fund towards a Big Lottery Fund initiative called ‘Building Better Opportunities’. The £11million total is made up of over £6.8million in LEP funding, with £4.5 million from the Big Lottery Fund.
The programme will primarily tackle poverty and social exclusion issues across the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire area. Our LEP’s allocation is part of over £132 million in grant aid being offered across England by the Building Better Opportunities programme. The Big Lottery and European monies will be combined to enable a comprehensive package of activity to be delivered across the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire area.
The Big Lottery Fund is working with local enterprise partnerships and their decision-making committees across England who have identified projects that best meet local need and priorities. From today, October 8, organisations will be able to apply to the Big Lottery for funding to deliver these projects, including voluntary, community and social enterprise groups, who have historically found it hard to apply for and manage EU funding.
The LEP aims to help boost economic development in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire by tackling barriers to economic inclusion.
We know that some people in our area face multiple barriers to getting jobs, such as difficulties with health conditions and disabilities, or responsibilities caring for family members. They may also need to improve their skills to suit modern workplaces, or be struggling to find the type of work they aspire to. And people at either end of the workforce age range – the 18-24-year-olds and those aged 50-plus – can face particular difficulties.
Local Enterprise Partnerships across England have been given the responsibility for deciding where Building Better Opportunities funding should be targeted within their regions, so that schemes can be tailored to particular local needs. The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP has identified three main areas.
The first area covers parts of Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme and the Staffordshire Moorlands. The Building Better Opportunities fund is looking to support just over £5.5 million of activity in these localities. Communities highlighted as likely to benefit from Building Better Opportunities include Bentilee, Etruria, Hanley, Tunstall and Burslem in Stoke-on-Trent, Silverdale, Cross Heath and Chesterton in Newcastle-under-Lyme, and parts of Biddulph and Leek.
The second area covers parts of Stafford and South Staffordshire, where just over £2.3 million is available, with highlighted areas including Huntington and Hatherton in South Staffordshire and Littleworth, Manor, Penkside, Highfields and Western Downs in Stafford.
The third area covers parts of Tamworth, Cannock Chase, Lichfield and East Staffordshire, with £3.1 million available. The highlighted areas include Burton, Horninglow, Stapenhill and Shobnall in East Staffordshire, Amington, Belgrave, Castle and Glascote in Tamworth, and Cannock, Brereton, Etching Hill and Hednesford in the Cannock Chase district
The new Building Better Opportunities programme for Stoke and Staffordshire will:
• Improve people’s life chances by funding projects that reflect local priorities and community needs;
• Be based on evidence about what works best, and be delivered by capable providers;
• Provide personalised help to people furthest from the labour market to develop their skills and talents, and overcome challenges.
Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP chairman David Frost CBE DL said: “Helping to create more and better jobs for local people and a more highly skilled workforce for local employers are key aims for our LEP.
“By directing Building Better Opportunities funding where it is needed most, it can do exactly what the name of the programme suggests – help open up new opportunities for deprived areas. And that will help us build thriving communities and a flourishing economy for Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.”
Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of the Big Lottery Fund said: “Working with local enterprise partnerships, these projects will enable people to overcome challenges and improve their long-term job prospects. This valuable partnership will create new opportunities for groups to focus on issues specific to their local communities.”
Grant competitions are fair, open and competitive and although any organisation is eligible to apply, by their nature the projects are better suited to partnership working. Full details of all the project outlines in this round are available at www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/esf.
Potential applicants with questions about the stage one application process should view the FAQs available on the Big Lottery Fund website here: https://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/bbofaq
The closing date for applications is 12 noon on 30 November 2015.
A small number of further funding opportunities are expected in early 2016. To be kept informed on the latest Building Better Opportunities news organisations should register their interest at www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/esf.
Between 2015 and 2020, a new round of the European Social Fund (ESF) includes support for projects that tackle poverty and improve social inclusion.
The Big Lottery Fund is matching this funding with Lottery money to double the impact or scope of projects and give a more straightforward route to European funding for the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector.
Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) have a role in determining local ESF investment priorities. LEPs are partnerships, between local authorities and businesses, set up to help determine economic priorities and lead economic growth and job creation within local areas.