A new Work and Health Programme that aims to help residents secure sustained employment and benefit from the social an economic benefits of work, launches in south London today.
The £14m programme is being delivered in Croydon, Kingston upon Thames, Merton, Richmond upon Thames and Sutton by Reed in Partnership, after the budget was devolved for the first time from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to develop, procure and deliver localised versions of the programme until 2023.
The Work and Health Programme – Better Working Futures, focuses on helping people with disabilities or health conditions, the long-term unemployed and other local priority groups into jobs. Reed in Partnership were appointed to deliver the programme in south London after Croydon Council led the commissioning work on behalf of all five boroughs.
Residents will be offered one to one advice and support from a case worker to help them overcome what for some, are complex barriers to employment. The support delivered by Reed in Partnership will be integrated with existing local services offered by the councils both individually and alongside other local partners. This will ensure local expertise is drawn upon when helping with matters such as basic skills, training, health, housing and English for speakers of other languages.
The programme is part-funded by the European Social Fund and the devolution deal has allowed all five boroughs to commission a service provider that best meets the needs of their residents.
Councillor Stephen Alambritis, leader of Merton Council and chairman of the South London Partnership, said: “I am delighted that from today The Work and Health Programme – Better Working Futures, will begin to help some of the 75,000 south London residents who are currently either long term unemployed, have health problems or disabilities, or face other difficulties, back into jobs.
“The delivery of this vital programme will make a huge difference to our residents’ lives and the tailored support will ensure individual needs are met and real changes are made to each person’s circumstances. Through devolution we will be able to integrate the support from Reed in Partnership with other programmes across our areas, to deliver even better for our residents.”
Donna Murrell, operations director at Reed in Partnership, added: “We are delighted to be working with the South London Partnership to support jobseekers in south London. Our Work and Health Programme – Better Working Futures will provide expert guidance, skills training and health support and give people the best possible chance of finding and sustaining local job opportunities.”
Councillor Manju Shahul-Hameed, Croydon Council cabinet member for economy and jobs, commented: “The launch of this programme is fantastic news for Croydon residents who are currently not working. The personalised support they will receive will be crucial in aiding their return to the world of work and securing sustainable employment.”
Sarah Newton, minister of state for disabled people, health and work, said: “Everyone should be able to go as far as their talents can take them at work, and we are determined to provide extra tailored support to those who need it. The Work and Health Programme plays a key role in our ambitious plan to help one million more disabled people and people with health conditions into work over the next decade. Working together with our local partners we can help ensure everyone has the chance of reaching their full potential.”
For more information about the Work and Health Programme – Better Working Futures visit www.BWFsouthlondon.co.uk