So you want Moor for your future?

You can be part of a Premier project thanks to a partnership between Great Places and Burnley FC.

The newly-designed Moor For Your Future programme is specifically for young people aged 18-25 in the Burnley, Pendle and surrounding areas to help nurture their confidence and self-esteem to navigate the ‘new normal’ whilst they move through a very volatile education system, early adulthood and seeking new employment.

The project aims to support young people who have had their lives disrupted due to the impact of COVID-19.

These impacts could range from being made redundant or on continuing furlough, disruption to their educational attainment or University plans, diminished health and well-being due to lockdown restrictions and social distancing.

To enrol onto the programme and for more information please email Stacey Fletcher stacey.fletcher@greatplaces.org.uk or call 07990 441493.

Bowland set for a makeover

Great Places’ 14-storey tower block that dominates the skyline on the gateway to Blackburn is set to undergo a comprehensive refurbishment programme to transform the 79 flats and the communal areas.

The refurbishment will include:

  • New energy-efficient windows and doors
  • New fire safety measures including a new sprinkler system
  • New external render and insulation
  • Winter balconies upgraded.

We will also be installing winter balconies to all flats and improving the digital access throughout the building and communal areas to help people get online.

The refurbishment programme will begin at the start of January 2021 and last for the majority of the year.

We are becoming More Positive Together

The More Positive Programme is in its third successful year of delivery.

This Lancashire-wide programme helps unemployed residents who need support and mentorship to help them progress into employment and improve their wellbeing.

To date we have:

  • supported 259 people of which 20% have been aged 50 years +
  • 31 have received support with childcare
  • 86 have been from a BAME background
  • 99 have been supported into further education and training
  • 34 have been supported into sustainable employment.

We are on track to meet targets for the end of this phase of the programme which completes in December 2021.

For more information, email Stacey Fletcher stacey.fletcher@greatplaces.org.uk or call 07990 441493.

“I feel I’m now getting my life back on track.”

The More Positive Together team has been helping to change lives for the last three years.

Take the case of one customer who was referred to the MPT Team internally via her Neighbourhood Services Manager to support her in her new tenancy with Great Places and accessing support moving forward.

The customer had endured a difficult few months as she had become homeless and had a job offer withdrawn because of the impact of the pandemic and was in need of support.

So the team were on hand to help the customer to furnish her new home and gained access to some furniture and white goods through MPT and via the hardship fund, set up to help customers in financial difficulty.

On helping her plan her future, it was clear she was experiencing mental health issues after the events of the months leading up to her linking in with the MPT Team.

The team were able to refer her to the Counselling in the Community service in Blackpool, which she is attending and flourishing.

So much so that she has progressed to a place where she wants to increase her skills. And as she has a good career history in the hospitality sector, she has enrolled on a foundation degree course.

And so she was able to begin her studies in the wake of the pandemic, MPT supported her to buy a laptop so she could access her lectures online.

She will continue to access support via the MPT team going forward but at present is just settling into her new opportunities.

She said: “I am so grateful for all of the help received from Great Places from helping me with my house to going back to studying. I feel I’m now getting my life back on track.”

Building a brighter tomorrow

Covering Lancashire, and as part of the same consortium of delivery partners used for the More Positive Together Programme, we have now been successful in securing funds for a new and exciting project called ‘Building Blocks’.

This programme will cover Lancashire and support those who have moved into employment to sustain the opportunity and grow within their roles. There is also an element of employer support enabling them to upskill their staff and retain good, reliable and engaged employees.

This programme is due to start in June 2021, will run for three years and we will recruit two new staff members to support the delivery.

This programme compliments our current More Positive Together project and the two will work alongside each other. It’s great news for customers and we hope to deliver some great outcomes over the next few years.

The Digital Library Project

A special library project has been established in Blackpool to support single men who were becoming isolated during the extended periods of lockdown.

Many local residents, in particular single men between the ages of 40 to 60, were identified as unable to connect with their community and services as the activity moved online.

The Digital Library Project is Claremont Park Community Centre’s response to the ongoing changes that Covid-19 has brought to our lifestyles and community.

It is hoped that a Digital Library will enable up to 25 local, isolated, male residents of the Claremont Ward to access safe online support to alleviate issues caused by Covid-19.

The Aims of Claremont Digital Library are:

  • To provide local residents with access to Internet enabled tablets/ notebooks to reduce social isolation.
  • To set up a series of online interactive sessions, which are interactive and theme based, and will help encourage participants to become less socially isolated and improve their mental health and wellbeing.
  • To encourage males who we have identified as being in hardship, having little family support or being digitally excluded during lockdown to get involved with the project.
  • To link local volunteers as peer mentors in supporting people’s learning of online technology and programmes; to share their skills with participants to assist them in becoming more confident with digital skills.
  • Establish new opportunities for online learning, access to help and advice, a safe place for new friendships and a virtual forum for discussions about how to help the community start a recovery process and plan for post lockdown and the re-opening of the centre.

Stuart is a Housing Hero

A Blackpool Great Places customer has confirmed his hero status after landing a prestigious national housing industry award.

Stuart Hutton-Brown, who runs the Counselling in the Community service in Derby Road, won the coveted Tenant Innovator of the Year at the Chartered Institute of Housing’s Housing Heroes Awards.

The awards ceremony recognises the best of the social housing sector from across the UK.

Counselling in the Community began life in 2018 to address a crucial need for these services in the region.

The service was helping around 80 people a week prior to lockdown but is dealing with an estimated 120 people per week and they have 34 voluntary counsellors.

Stuart said: “This is a testament to the hard work of many people and they deserve all the credit.

“I can’t thank Great Places enough for everything they have done for me personally and the service.”

If you want to contact Counselling in the Community, or access their services, email counselling.community@outlook.com or call 0808 1963483.

Great Places secures £350,000 of funding to support employment in Lancashire

Great Places has secured three years of European Social Fund grant from the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) to build on the success of our existing MPT (More Positive Together) service in Lancashire.

The service is delivered across Lancashire as part of a consortium of 14 Registered Providers and other services – Great Places is currently one of the highest performing partners.

The new three year contract is worth £350,000 to Great Places and will see the delivery of invaluable work support for vulnerable customers, helping them to sustain their employment. The wider MPT project which has been running since 2017 aims to support those that are furthest from the labour market and over 50% of the participants are Great Places customers.

Rosie Longden, Head of Community Investment, said:

“This is a fantastic achievement. To secure new business in such challenging times is a testament to the hard work of Keira Burns, the Community Investment Manager and her team.”

Get ready to Boss It!

We are launching a new initiative called ‘Boss It’ aimed at people with a business idea who need support to start up a new business.

They will be able to pitch their ideas and if successful they will be awarded a small start up grant to support their new venture with ongoing support.

We are requesting an expression of interest in the first instance with a deadline of January 14, 2021. All enquires and expressions of interest should be sent to mpt.referrals@greatplaces.org.uk.