Helping Devon’s most disadvantaged people into work

A partnership of seven Devon organisations has secured a Big Lottery Fund grant to help Devon’s most socially excluded communities return to employment, education and training.

The new programme, called ‘Positive People’, will help over 1,300 individuals who are out of work to build their skills, confidence and motivation. This will include people with disabilities, mental health issues, ex-offenders, homeless people and people over 50. Support for individuals will include basic literacy and numeracy skills, help to master digital technology, and preparation for work including job search.

The programme aims to benefit local communities by reducing poverty and anti-social behaviour. It will also contribute to the growth of the local economy with employers having access to a pool of people with the relevant skills to meet their needs.

Devon Community Foundation and Pluss will begin to deliver the £5 million programme in early 2017 for the next three years. The core partners are Pluss, Tomorrow’s People, Westward Pathfinder, Cosmic, Devon Community Foundation, Torbay Community Development Trust and Plymouth Octopus Project. There are also 55 additional partners across Devon, Plymouth and Torbay.

Martha Wilkinson, Chief Executive of Devon Community Foundation said, “For some people, opportunities to further their skills or find a job that pays the bills are far and few between. As a Community Foundation, nurturing communities is at the heart of what we do, and we’re delighted to be a part of such an important programme helping raise aspirations across Devon.” 

Pluss’ Chief Executive, Steve Hawkins, said “Positive People will support hundreds of disadvantaged people across Devon into sustainable employment.

“Securing the funds to deliver this programme is a proud moment for all seven organisations. Our Devon partnership will deliver significant positive social change at a time when local devolution means Devon is taking on more responsibility for its own future.”

Positive People has been co-designed over the past six months by a range of stakeholders including representatives from local communities, Devon County, Plymouth City and Torbay Councils, Devon District Councils and the Heart of the South West LEP.

Positive People (part of the Building Better Opportunities programme) is a new project jointly funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund.