THE charity, Devon Communities Together, has been successful, as part of a partnership bid led by Further Education College Petroc, in securing a £2.4 million grant to deliver a Building Better Opportunities project across the county.
Building Better Opportunities is a programme jointly funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund.
Along with their partners, Petroc and Devon Communities Together will be using the funding to deliver a unique project for 18 to 24-year-olds who are NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training).
Called Empowering Enterprise, the programme will seek to engage more than 600 of Devon’s most socially-excluded young people and work with them to develop their employability and life skills giving them the confidence to return to employment, education or training.
Petroc’s partners, which include public and private sector organisations, charities and community interest companies from across the county, have a wealth of experience of working with the socially excluded.
Working together they will engage and support young people to tackle the barriers they face to finding a job or getting work-ready.
As well as a one-to-one mentor, each one of those taking part will also have the opportunity to take part in group activities which encourage them to connect and engage in a project that is of benefit to their local community.
Diane Dimond, principal at Petroc, said: “We and our partners are proud to be working with the Big Lottery Fund and European Social Fund. Securing this grant confirms that our partnership has the potential to deliver real change for hundreds of marginalised young people across Devon.
"Through Empowering Enterprise, we look forward to helping participants build a more positive future for themselves.”
Elaine Cook, Devon Communities Together CEO, said: "We are delighted to be working with Petroc in this partnership to support young people across rural Devon to develop the skills which will enable them to fully participate in work, training and education opportunities.”
The partnership will begin to deliver the programme in summer 2017 and Empowering Enterprise will continue until December 2019.
Devon Communities Together is the Community Council of Devon, an independent charity with more than 50 years’ experience of community development work.