The North West of England has been seriously affected by the economic downturn, with the large metropolitan areas of Liverpool and Greater Manchester experiencing high levels of industrial unemployment. ESF funding in the North West has attempted to address this by focusing on providing support to those who have experienced or are facing redundancy, and supporting areas and sectors with growth potential. Examples of projects supported by the European Social Fund in the North West which work to help those recently made redundant as well as the longer-term unemployed include TNG in Warrington and St Helens Council for Voluntary Services in St Helens.
By sharing strong links with local authorities, TNG has been able to focus engagement activity in deprived areas where outreach has real potential. ESF in the North West enables TNG to employ outreach advisers who engage with organisations that may have links with long-term unemployed people, including:
- drug and alcohol treatment agencies
- housing associations
- community groups
- Jobcentre Plus
- children’s centres.
TNG works with customers who face a variety of barriers to employment, including those with health conditions, lone parents, customers from an ethnic minority background, homeless people, offenders and ex-offenders, customers with a history of substance misuse, people aged over 50, and those with literacy and numeracy needs. St Helens Council for Voluntary Services promotes volunteering as a way to gain different skills and experiment with a possible career change and has seen a significant increase in the number of people facing redundancy approaching the project.