Voluntary and community organisations from across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire are being invited to a series of free workshops to improve the way they work with each other to help support people into work.
The workshops are being organised by the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership as part of the Â£25m Building Better Opportunities Fund.
Following the success of three events held last year attended by over 130 organisations, the workshops will show how organisations can improve the way they work together when applying for funding.
Voluntary and Community Sector Forum Chair on the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership Judith Kirkland explained that the events before Christmas had helped raise awareness about the Building Better Opportunities Fund.
Judith said: â€œWe were delighted with the number of organisations attending the first workshops and these next events will help explore ideas and share resources and skills to better support those looking to get back into work.
â€œIn particular we want to encourage smaller community organisations working at the grass roots level to get involved. Many of our smaller organisations work directly with people who experience the greatest barriers to employment, including, for example, those with health problems or a lack of skills. If we can help organisations access funding they may be able to achieve even more for the people they work withâ€.
David Frost, Chair of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP said: â€œOne of our key priorities as a LEP is to increase the number of people in work and make sure people have the skills to take advantage of future jobs.
â€œThe workshops will be an opportunity for organisations to get together and share ideas about the best ways of supporting those who need help in getting back to work. We would hope to see a new consortium of organisations who would go on to develop a range of new initiatives that will over the next five years see levels of worklessness falling right across the region.â€
Judith Kirkland added: â€œWe are very fortunate to have the support of the Big Lottery and the European Social Fund which have between them created the Â£25m funding opportunity that the Building Better Opportunities Programme represents; itâ€™s a great opportunity for some of our smaller community and voluntary organisations to really demonstrate the contributions they make to improving life opportunities for people in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.
The workshops are being organised by VAST and organisations can book a place or find out more at http://events.vast.org.uk/
The workshop dates and location:
23rd February â€“ Assembly Rooms, Tamworth
26th February â€“ Burton Albion FC, Burton
27th February â€“ Dudson Centre, Stoke-on-Trent
2nd March â€“ The Hub, Stafford
5th March â€“ Council Offices, Codsall