New project to provide mental health support to vulnerable young people

Written: 30 July 2020

An innovative sustainable employment and skills project delivering mental health support for vulnerable young people in Leeds and Bradford is to be launched this summer.

As part of the initiative, which has been awarded funding of up to £1.45m from the European Structural and Investment Funds Programme (ESIF), young people who are facing barriers associated with mental ill health will be provided with a range of support by Leeds City Council and Bradford Council to access Education, Training and Employment (ETE) opportunities. The project will build on existing local good practice to deliver a new integrated employability programme specifically for young people with mental health support needs, whether or not they are receiving out-of-work benefits.

One of the main aims of the project will be to target and work closely with individuals disadvantaged in the labour market and provide access into employment. The programme will deliver flexible interventions to address complex barriers to employment; raise aspirations; deliver skills and training, and broker opportunities with local and national employers to meet local employer needs. The emphasis will be on mental wellbeing in addition to general employability support - recognising that health, including mental health are vitally important to creating a happy and productive workforce.

Over the next three years the project will support around 1,100 young people in Leeds to improve their skills and significantly increase their prospects of moving into sustained employment. The project will be aligned with existing services and programmes delivered by the council and its’ partners to ensure any Leeds resident not in employment, aged 15 and over can be supported.

A new website has also been launched by Leeds City Council this month providing a range of free support services not to just to residents, but also businesses in the city seeking to recruit, retain and develop a skilled and inclusive workforce.

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for learning, skills and employment, said:

“The long term impact of Covid -19 on our most vulnerable residents is yet to be fully known, however, we are working closely with partners and other local authorities, to ensure support is available through programmes such as this for residents to access meaningful jobs and or educational opportunities.

“This project will run for three years from this summer, and will play a very important role in our work to ensure young people are given the meaningful support that they need. Our existing provision has also been aligned to ensure our employment and skills delivery is still available on line and or over the phone until we return to face to face delivery.”

Cllr Imran Khan, Bradford Council’s deputy Leader and executive member for education, employment and skills, said:

“Supporting young people into education, training or employment is a priority for the Bradford, for their futures and for the prosperity of the district. This project will help some of our most vulnerable young people overcome barriers to employment in what are very challenging times.

“Working in partnership with neighbouring local authorities on the YEP project will give our young people another pathway to life changing opportunities, complementing the great work that already goes on through Bradford’s status as an Opportunity Area. Well done to everyone involved in the bid for funding; the hard work has, and will pay off.”

Notes to editors:

The project is receiving up to £1.45m of funding from the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. The Department for Work and Pensions (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme. Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations.

For more information visit GOV's European Growth Funding page.

View the press release on the Leeds City Council newsroom here.

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