Community Impact Support Scheme funding for four Devon organisations

Wings South West

Posted on: 6 October 2016

Funding from a business support scheme has been awarded to four organisations in Devon.

The Community Impact Support Scheme (CISS) launched last year to provide grants to community organisations, social enterprise and voluntary sector groups, and Devon County Council has now announced the latest round of successful grant applications.

The County Council is running the scheme in partnership with district, city and borough councils, and a number of key stakeholders are providing support, including Dartington School for Social Entrepreneurs, Devon Community Foundation, Devon Communities Together, Devon and Somerset Business Finance Network and Department for Work and Pensions.

The latest organisations to receive CISS funding are:

Exeter Community Initiatives – Ripple Effect
“Ripple Effect” is aiming to engage people who face barriers to employment, due to experiencing issues such as low confidence, anxiety, addiction, offending or trauma; by providing opportunities to develop skills, stability and resilience through social action. Beneficiaries will be supported to work in teams on short-term projects to benefit the local community, such as arts or environmental projects, campaigns or community events. Alongside this, Ripple Effect will provide personal development training to enable beneficiaries to develop skills, such as assertiveness and confidence, to move them closer to employment.

Laura Callaway, who is developing the project, said: “We are delighted to receive the CISS funding which has enabled us to develop our existing Ripple Effect project, which enabled people affected by addiction, to influence local substance abuse services. We are now widening the project’s remit to include those most affected by the welfare changes and who are some distance from being “work-ready” due to a lack of confidence or experience. We take an asset-based approach which focusses on what people have to offer, rather than dwelling on their problems. Participants will be able to offer their talents to make a difference to their community, thereby boosting their self-esteem and sense of connectedness: knowing that they’ve caused that ripple in the pond.”
EDP – Hidden Gems
Hidden Gems is being delivered in partnership with Jobcentre Plus, Devon Disability Collective and jewellers Robbins and Moore. It aims to help people develop and build entrepreneurial and employability skills through work experience in a real work environment. There is also the opportunity to gain accredited qualifications, as well as learning to design, make and sell jewellery and other handcrafted products from recycled and reclaimed metals.

Charlotte Burrows, Director of Innovation and Growth, said: “EDP is delighted to receive this funding which will enable us to support more people to develop their enterprising skills and opportunity for employment. Already we have four people interested in joining Hidden Gems and we are looking forward to our first programme beginning in October.”

Westward Pathfinder – Community Wardens
A team of up to 10 unemployed volunteers will become “Community Rangers”, supported by a supervisor, to carry out minor maintenance work for local councils and community organisations. To enhance their employment prospects, participants will spend up to 16 hours a week on work experience for 12 weeks, cleaning village halls and community buildings, clearing weeds and maintaining village greens and parks.

Jo Osgood, Chief Executive of Westward Pathfinder, which has centres in Barnstaple, Bideford, Exeter and Torquay, said: “The Devon Community Rangers project will help at least 60 long-term unemployed to gain work experience and skills while at the same time reintroducing structure to their lives. The participants will be doing valuable work within their community which will greatly enhance their self-esteem and self-confidence. The weekly supported job search, together with the work experience, vocational skills and self-esteem gained through the project, will help the participants move from welfare dependency into employment or self-employment. The project will also provide valuable support to community organisations who, in times of austerity, are often struggling to continue to deliver the valuable work that they do. Without the funding from the Community Impact Support Scheme this project would not have got off the ground and we’re hoping that this is just the beginning and that we can grow the programme, through further grants and by generating income from the services provided, to set up additional teams across the county.”

Wings South West

Wings South West

Wings South West – Trax
Trax is a vehicle refurbishment and trailer production business, based on the outskirts of Bideford. Young people who are part of the project will work on cars and motorbikes that have failed their MOT. After repairing them to pass the MOT, the vehicles are then sold on. Those who become part of the project will receive intensive mentoring and support to ensure that they progress into further training or employment.

James Lewis, Programme Manager for Wings South West, said: “The CISS funding from Devon will enable us to transform how we work with young people. Developing the Trax motor mechanics social enterprise will make the charity more sustainable into the future, it will not only provide direct employment opportunities and apprenticeships but will also give trainees real working opportunities in a supportive and nurturing environment. Many need this extra support, mentoring and guidance to ensure they progress successfully into long term employment. The Trax enterprise will hopefully be the first of many that will change many young lives in an area that has limited opportunities.”

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Growth, said: “Congratulations to all of the schemes that have been awarded CISS funding. All of these projects aim to improving the employment prospects of the young people involved. As well as learning new skills it is also giving young people the opportunity to put something back into their local community.”

The initial round of funding last year saw grants awarded to the St Sidwells Centre, Exeter Community Initiatives, Young Devon, Freedom Community Alliance, and The Trill Trust.

CISS was introduced following changes to the Welfare Reform Act with the aim of supporting the long term employment prospects of unemployed people and those in work but dependent on benefits.

For more information click here.

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