Council employability project shortlisted for award

Published October 26, 2018 at 16:05

A unique project that tackles employability barriers has been short-listed for a prestigious award.

In just six months, Rossendale Works has led to 16 people finding work, 19 more on employer placements and a further 30 getting mentally and physically fitter through Active Lancashire activities.

On November 23, at the Lancashire Sports Awards at the Blackpool Hotel and Conference Centre, Rossendale Works Employability Project is one of five finalists in the Project of the Year category.

Employability Officer Paul Becouarn is employed by Active Lancashire and delivers the project for Rossendale Borough Council.

He said:

Over a three year period we collated evidence around how improving a person’s physical and mental wellbeing can help to bridge gaps into community independence and employability and as a result of that we devised the project Rossendale Works.

Paul works with people who are claiming benefits and offers a holistic approach to helping them move forward. This includes one-to-one sessions so that he can really understand the person he is working with and their individual issues, and then create a tailor-made programme to help them find their niche.

Not everyone is ready for employment so Paul can also steer clients towards an exercise programme with Active Lancashire.

He has been working with Sian Hanley from Haslingden while she completes her Level 3 in counselling and waits to start her Masters degree.

Paul said:

When I first met Sian she was full of anxiety and depression and had very low self-esteem. She has really come out of her shell.

Sian (2), had post-natal depression when her daughter was born prematurely and stopped breathing. After finishing her degree and while waiting to continue her study, she was at the Jobcentre Plus in Rawtenstall when she was introduced to Paul.

She said

I am not a confident person and so it was good for me to be offered this opportunity. It has made a massive difference to me because when I finished my degree I didn’t know how to bridge that gap.

I know how good it is for people with depression and anxiety to do physical activity to get their endorphins flowing and feeling better. When I went to the activity day Active Lancashire had at Haslingden Community Link I could see the difference it made.

Sian is currently shadowing Paul while he delivers the project and said she was now more confident to apply for a job.

Paul added:

It is a changing behaviour programme which also helps people on low incomes, who have fallen on hard times and those who have substance abuse issues.

Councillor Alyson Barnes, leader of Rossendale Council, welcomed the nomination and said:

This is a valuable project which is providing our unemployed residents with extra support to access sustainable employment.

We know the positive impact that physical activity has on improving mental well-being and self-esteem, which in turn can help to give people the confidence to take the step into employment.

This project is part of a package of measures we have introduced to promote investment in the borough, attract new businesses, create good job opportunities for our residents and ultimately raise income levels.

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