Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Council boost for third sector in Leeds

Today sees the launch of the Leeds Transition Fund, a new grants scheme aimed at helping third sector organisations who have been affected by recent cuts to public sector funding.

Leeds City Council identified £140k to set up this fund as part of its budget setting process for this year. The scheme will support third sector organisations that have experienced reductions to their funding, helping them to become more resilient and enabling them to respond to new opportunities.

The scheme will help groups to assess and re-align their services, prepare for new commissioning opportunities and facilitate partnership working such as mergers and closer collaboration.

The Third Sector Partnership Group (TSP), chaired by Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, agreed the terms and conditions for the fund at a meeting earlier this month. Leeds Community Foundation will manage the fund in partnership with the council.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, chair of TSP and the council’s champion for the voluntary sector in Leeds said:
“We have many third sector organisations in Leeds that deliver high quality public services, and we want to support these as much as possible as they try to adjust to this new funding climate.

“This additional funding will offer a lifeline to some of these organisations. It will give them the chance to re-assess and re-align what they do, so they are better placed to continue to deliver services going forward.”

Councillor Peter Gruen, executive board member with responsibility neighbourhoods and housing said:
“This administration recognised that the government spending cuts will have a detrimental effect on voluntary organisations that depend on public funds in order to deliver their services, and therefore put some additional funding into its 2011/12 budget.

“This additional funding will help some of these organisations to deal with the financial challenges that they are currently facing, and I would encourage eligible groups to submit their bids before 27 June.”

Sally-Anne Greenfield, chief executive of Leeds Community Foundation said:
“This additional pot of money from Leeds City Council is welcome news for third sector organisations in the city, who could be adversely affected by the recent cuts in public sector spending.

“We are working in partnership with the council to deliver this fund, and would encourage organisations to visit our website to find out how to apply.”

Further information about the fund will be available from 27 May on www.leedscommunityfoundation.org.uk Applications should be completed and submitted by 27 June. A grants panel will meet in July to assess the applications. Projects will start from mid August.

A consultation event will take place on Tuesday 7 June where interested organisations can see a presentation about the fund and ask questions. Prior booking is essential and details will be published next week on the website above.

Ends
Additional info

The deadline for the receipt of all applications is 5pm on 27 June. The grants panel will meet in July with the aim of projects being funded from the middle of August.

Third Sector Leeds is an alliance of voluntary and community organisations, charities, faith groups, and social enterprises working in Leeds.

The Third Sector Partnership work together to:
• develop third sector policies regarding key strategic issues;
• engage with and influence the decision making processes of all its key stakeholders, especially the Leeds Initiative and its partners including Leeds City Council and NHS Leeds; and
• co-ordinate representation of the third sector on statutory partnerships and boards.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578
Email: claire.macklam@leeds.gov.uk

Young people’s job prospects on the up thanks to new provider

The organisation responsible for providing a new initiative to improve the job prospects of young unemployed people in Leeds has been announced this week.

Learning Partnerships is joining forces with Leeds City Council, Jobcentre Plus, Leeds City College and other post 16 learning providers to deliver an innovative programme of activity to improve the employability of young people who are not in employment, education or training (NEET).

Learning Partnerships is an established Leeds-based education charity that works with children, young people and their families in some of the most deprived areas of the city. Through their ‘YOUth Inspire’ project they will deliver a programme of skills training and work experience tailored to meet the needs of each young person on the scheme.

The council is investing over £400k, which will be matched by funds from the Skills Funding Agency, into the project which will see 580 young people aged 16 to 24 get access to the support and skills training they need to help them secure a job, an apprenticeship or further work-related training.

The project will seek to target those who are ready to enter employment and prevent them from becoming long-term unemployed. Young people will be referred by their Connexions or Jobcentre Plus adviser and will undertake an eight week programme which will be individually tailored to address any gaps in employability skills and work experience.

Accredited training will be delivered in partnership with Leeds City College and other post-16 learning providers and will cover essential skills for work including literacy, language, numeracy, ICT, first aid, food hygiene and manual handling. Practical assistance will also be provided to help young people attend training and work experience placements.

As part of the scheme the participants will be supported by a workplace mentor and will have a caseworker to guide and support their job search for up to six months following the end of the initial programme. The young person will be given specific help with interview practice, completing a job application or writing a CV.

Councillor Peter Gruen executive member responsible for environments and neighbourhoods, said:
“This partnership will mean we can deliver tailored training and support to both maximise the young people’s potential, as well as their local employment opportunities by working directly with major employers to help fulfil their recruitment needs.

“Doing whatever we can to help young people get into employment is so important at this time of economic uncertainty - when unemployment is so high and so many young people are struggling to find work or stay in education.

“If we can equip 580 young people with the skills needed to get them a job and off benefits not only will the long term effect on the city’s economy be immense, their individual future prospects will also improve no end.”

Councillor Jane Dowson, deputy executive member responsible for learning, added:“Reducing the number of our young people classed as NEET – not in Education, employment and training - is one of the top three priorities within children’s services here in Leeds.

“This project adds to the arsenal of positive activities the city offers in partnership with our schools, colleges and employers. I am really excited to be working with Leeds City College and Learning Partnerships on this scheme which will provide a brighter future for many of our young people.”

Cath O’Grady, Business Development and Contracts Manager at Learning Partnerships, added:“Learning Partnerships and our YOUth Inspire partners are delighted to have been awarded this contract by the Council.
“Unemployment amongst young people is unacceptably high and we are in danger of losing a generation. This is a great opportunity for the YOUth Inspire partnership to improve young people’s life chances and help them into work.

“We will be holding regular open days for young people and there is already a great deal of interest from local businesses and young people. If you think you might be able to offer a young person work experience or would like further information, please get in touch.”

YOUth Inspire partner organisations include re’new, Groundwork Leeds, Health for All, Leeds Ahead and Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber.

ENDS
For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713
Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk

For YOUth Inspire enquiries, please contact:
Debbie Banks, Learning Partnerships, on (0113) 3806714
Email: Debbie@learningpartnerships.org.uk