Innovation & Community
Community Renewal Fund
We were delighted to continue to deliver projects with the Community Renewal Fund this year and Routes To Work is ready to embrace any changes that may come with the new UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is described by the UK Government as one of its flagship policies for its “levelling up” agenda.
It will effectively be the successor programme to the EU Structural Funds, targeting people in places most in need across the UK. To help prepare for the introduction of the Shared Prosperity Fund, funding was made available through the UK Community Renewal Fund.
The Community Renewal Fund seeks to provide opportunities to trial new approaches and innovative ideas at the local level.
From April to December 2022, we delivered an innovative community based project in the Airdrie Central ward.
Routes To Work were delighted to have delivered just under half-a-million pounds of investment into the area to transform people’s lives.
We looked to utilise different methods of identifying and approaching potential clients in the area; with a particular focus on the cohort of people who were economically inactive and new ways of engaging these communities who otherwise might not be aware of our services.
To do this we employed clients from our caseloads to work as peer mentors. They understand the areas and difficulties better than anyone; and prospective new clients can relate and take inspiration from.
We engaged the community through door-stepping, attendance at organised community events, interest and hobby-based activities and liaising with frontline partners.
Our team looked to provide a variety of pre-employability, personal and social development services as well. Clients were allocated a case worker to coordinate their journey and connect to external partners.
We also seconded a member of the team from Citizens Advice Bureau to offer instant access to benefit checks and financial advice.
The project managed to register 201 participants from the local area. The majority had been economically inactive, not previously engaging with any services and not looking for work or training.
Indeed, 80% of participants were engaged at their home, in the high street market space or at a community event; with most stating their situation would not have changed if they hadn’t been approached by Routes To Work.
Clients on the programme were asked to indicate words or phrases they would use to describe Routes To Work.
The most common words or phrases used to describe Routes To Work are:
Clients also indicated that, following the support and services they received from Routes To Work, they felt:
It helped build their confidence
More in control and able to manage their lives
Many respondents also indicated that the support and services they received put them in touch with job opportunities, helped them be more connected with other people, helped them develop skills that employers look for, helped them to present themselves to employers and improved their mental health, physical health and wellbeing.
Overall the project managed to support 201 clients. Following support 45 achieved a qualification, 68 engaged in life skill interventions, 34 began job seeking and 51 moved into employment. Additionally, 91 people were given financial advice and guidance.
In this project we learned that the new approaches to our delivery, focus on specific groups and use of technology should be adopted as we move forward.
The three strongest elements identified by clients as supporting their progression were the engagement approach, life skills/coaching and financial wellbeing advice.
These are things we are committed to providing for clients to continue to help change lives and focus our support to those in communities who need it most.