Improving the employment and skills prospects for all residents across Liverpool City Region is a key priority for the Combined Authority. It’s a cornerstone of the Devolution package agreed with Government and includes funding the innovative £4.5m Households into Work programme.
“The aim of the project is to help 800 families right across the city region move a step closer to employment,” explains Margaret Wilson from Households into Work’s Wirral team. “I’ve been working with unemployed people for twenty-five years, but this is the first time I’ve been able to focus on helping whole families and households. It’s a groundbreaking approach. We’ve always known that social isolation plays a significant role in preventing people getting back into work.”
“Now for the first time we can go to people’s houses, meet families and use our judgment – our personal and professional skills, if you like – to really make a difference. It’s vital work.”
Working across the whole city region, “Households into Work” is about building trust with the local community in order to help bring about positive change that leads to employment. Many of the people who receive help are referred through partner organisations. Barriers to employment might be debt, disability, mental health issues or multi-generational worklessness. On the Wirral, Margaret and a team of five can get in there and look more holistically at these barriers to help break them down one by one, with similar teams based in the city region’s other five local authorities. Without this project whole families run the risk of becoming lost and even more isolated than they already are.
“It’s a long slow process,” says Margaret, “It’s small steps at first but we’re making headway and already improving people’s confidence and self-esteem. Most people really want to work, they just need a little help.”
“We’re getting to people who, up to this point, have fallen off the radar and that’s down to smart decisions made because of devolution. We had the chance to look around and see what was needed locally and have managed to secure funding to make changes that affect lives on our doorstep.”
The “Households into Work” programme is currently being delivered across the city region.