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Building Better Opportunities secures £7m extension as it celebrates getting 370 Coventry & Warwickshire people back into employment

L-R: Andy Whitmore (Breakthrough), Mandy Bygrave (Accelerate), Cllr Nicola Davies, Cathy Allen (CWCDA), Helen Hunt (Warwickshire County Council), Mary Dunleavy (DWP), Sue Ormiston (The National Lottery Community Fund) and Andy Harrison (Progress)

370 people in Coventry and Warwickshire are now back in work after being long-term unemployed thanks to the pioneering work of three local initiatives.

Accelerate, Breakthrough and Progress – all projects that are part of Building Better Opportunities and are funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund – made the announcement at a recent celebration event to recognise the achievements of local people who have overcome major financial, health and educational barriers to get themselves on the road to employment.

Over 100 delegates were present at the Village Hotel in Coventry to hear how numerous employability partners have come together to provide participants with access to confidence building, work experience and skills enhancement, including training on IT, literacy, numeracy and enterprise.

The event was designed to promote and celebrate the achievements of the programmes and was the perfect platform to announce that over £7m of funding has been secured for the extension of the projects.

All three programmes share similar principles of making the support bespoke to the individual and in creating unique action plans that meet specific objectives. Their remit is to help people who are not in education, employment or training and, to date, more than 2500 individuals have been assisted with gaining skills, training and finding work.

Speakers at the event included Sue Ormiston, EU Programme Manager at The National Lottery Community Fund, and Local Councillor and Chairperson of Warwickshire County Council, Nicola Davies.

Councillor Davies said: “I’d like to offer my congratulations to the all partners involved in delivering Building Better Opportunities projects across the county. They are showing what can be done to help people into the workplace by offering personalised support, helping them adapt to change and gain new skills whilst boosting self-esteem, confidence and wellbeing. They are making a real difference to people’s lives.”

Mandy Bygrave, Operations Manager at CDA and lead on Accelerate, added her support: “Accelerate, Progress and Breakthrough have managed to achieve what a lot of other previous initiatives have failed to do. We’ve managed to bring together all of the different support organisations so that people can access the exact help they need. This is making a massive difference to lots of communities in Coventry and Warwickshire and the good news is we have secured additional funding to keep delivering our projects to thousands of local people.