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New Government-funded service will help struggling jobseekers aged 25 and over in Preston "Move Forward".

4 October 2023

Preston City Council has commissioned two local organisations to offer a new service helping those with complex needs find work, gain skills or take part in training.

The project, called 'Move Forward', has received £180,000 funding from the Government's UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) and will run till March 2024. It will be run by Selnet and charity Active Lancashire, alongside a network of delivery partners who will provide tailored mentoring, employment support and more. In Preston these include several local organisations; Lancashire Women, Lancashire Wildlife Trust, Onward, Beanstalk, the Foxton Centre, the Integrated Care Board, Lancashire Community Finance and PHX Training so as well as helping local jobseekers, it will provide a welcome boost to the local economy.

Move Forward differs from other services, such as those delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions, in that it aims to provide tailored support to individuals who are facing a more complex range of barriers. These include having limited work experience, physical or mental health issues, caregiver responsibilities, a lack of aspiration, substance abuse issues, language barriers, experience of domestic violence, homelessness and more.

Move Forward will work with each person to meet their individual needs and challenges. It will link them to job seeking support, volunteering and workplace opportunities, free training - including maths, English for speakers of other languages and digital skills - and optional free lifestyle activities to boost the confidence and wellbeing of participants.

Councillor Jennifer Mein, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:

"Preston Council is proud to work with Selnet and Active Lancashire, as well as others who have been engaged to deliver the Move Forward project. The project aligns perfectly with our commitment to support and uplift people in our communities who face various challenges in their job search journey. The initiative will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the lives of many residents throughout Preston."

Adrian Leather, CEO of Active Lancashire, said:

"Move Forward embodies our commitment to helping individuals in Lancashire reach their full potential. We believe that personal and professional development are intertwined, and this initiative reflects our dedication to fostering growth on all levels. As with employment and skills projects that we currently manage on behalf of other councils, activity sessions will be used to support the skills and motivation of those we work with."

Alison Davies, Programme Manager at Selnet, said, "We have always been dedicated to creating opportunities for individuals to overcome the  difficulties they face. Move Forward embodies this commitment, offering a comprehensive support package and guidance for those who need help to get into work. We are excited to be part of this collaborative effort."

For more information visit Active Lancashire - Move Forward.

About the UK Shared Prosperity Fund

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government's Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information visit GOV.UK - UK Shared Prosperity Fund prospectus.

Photo caption: From left, Alison Davies, Peter Griffiths and Adrian Leather outside Preston Market Hall.