£3.2million funding win for Gloucestershire's most vulnerable
Gloucestershire County Council and over 70 voluntary community social enterprise (VCSE), public and private sector partners from across the county have joined together and won £3.2million funding from the European Social Fund and Big Lottery Fund to help the county's most vulnerable adults into work, training or education.
The project, known locally as The Gloucestershire GEM (Going the Extra Mile) Project, will engage with 1,100 people over three years until December 2019.
The focus will be on people who face challenges in getting into work, and supporting them to move closer towards education, training, volunteering or employment opportunities. This could include job interview training, internships and work experience, support to create social enterprises and self-employment opportunities.
Gloucestershire has an excellent history of creating employment opportunities for people with learning disabilities, with the council's Forwards Employment Service having helped over 70 people find work in the last year alone. This project is a chance to build on that success.
Cllr Kathy Williams, cabinet member for long term care, said: "This is fantastic news for Gloucestershire. The project provides an opportunity to support people who are most in need in the county and enable them to help themselves.
"In Gloucestershire we've a strong track record of creating and protecting local jobs. This money will help us extend that still further - and help some of the most vulnerable people in Gloucestershire find work or training that suits them.
"It also a great example of what you can achieve by working together in partnership. This is a great opportunity for the council and local voluntary and community sector organisations to work collaboratively to deliver services in their local communities. It will make a fantastic difference right across the county".
Mark Gale from Gloucestershire Gateway Trust - the organisation managing the project, said: "We are really excited that the GEM project will be delivered by our extensive county wide voluntary community social enterprise (VCSE) partners.
"Each organisation has strong local knowledge and connections in their own communities, which will be supported by the strength, knowledge and expertise of Gloucestershire County Council. We can't wait to get started.
"The project will also open up opportunities for participants to explore self-employment and social enterprises, creating more diversity in the Gloucestershire economy."
If you would like more information about GEM and what it may be able to offer you, contact GEM@gloucestershire.gov.uk.
The project team also want to hear from businesses and employers who would like to find out more about the benefits to your business from employing a diverse workforce. Contact GEM@gloucestershire.gov.uk for more information on how you can get involved.