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EU funding for mental health employment support project

EU funds helping to grow job prospects for long-term unemployed

Cyllid gan yr UE yn helpu i wella rhagolygon swyddi i bobl sydd wedi bod heb waith am gyfnod hir

A new £1.3m project to support people facing complex barriers to employment compounded by mental ill health has been announced today by Jeremy Miles, Brexit Minister.

Welsh Government News
Monday 23 December

EU funds helping to grow job prospects for long-term unemployed

A new £1.3m project to support people facing complex barriers to employment compounded by mental ill health has been announced today by Jeremy Miles, Brexit Minister.

Learning to Grow will work with 300 adults living with mental health conditions across Newport, Monmouthshire, Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, who have been long-term unemployed.

The project will support people to build new work-related skills through hands-on horticulture, woodwork, IT and craft activities, and a work-based learning programme which will lead to accreditation in job-relevant skills.

The aim is to improve mental and physical well-being by encouraging a collaborative approach to environmental and learning activities which help to motivate and provide a purposeful daily routine, as well as preparing individuals for the work environment.

The project will run for three years, and is being supported by £700,000 from the European Social Fund.

Jeremy Miles, who is responsible for EU funding in Wales, said: “People who have been affected by long term mental ill health can find it difficult to hold down jobs due to lack of work and life skills, and a lack of confidence.

“Learning to Grow will help people build real work skills to secure, and hold down, meaningful work. The project will also help to boost confidence, self-esteem and motivation, all of which play a vital part in supporting individuals back to work.

“Supporting the people who are furthest from the labour market has multiple benefits: empowering individuals, reducing dependence on NHS services, challenging social assumptions around mental health, and tackling poverty and unemployment in deprived communities.”

Economy Minister Ken Skates said: “Our Employability Plan sets out a number of measures to support people across Wales into work. I am pleased European funding is being invested in the Learning to Grow programme, which will be vital in helping individuals with mental health issues to overcome obstacles that may stand in their way to gaining employment.”

The project will be delivered by mental health charity Growing Space.

Bill Upham of Growing Space said: “Growing Space is fully committed to supporting individuals and their families on their journey to recovery. The Learning to Grow Project will help people to overcome the barriers they face in re-engaging with society.”

Since 2007, EU-funded projects in Wales have created 48,700 jobs and 13,400 new businesses, while assisting 26,900 businesses and helping 90,000 people into employment.


Notes to editors


• The project is part of the Tackling Poverty through Sustainable Employment programme, which aims to support adults who have been long term unemployed and have complex barriers to employment.

• Social prescribing is a way of linking people to community-based, non-clinical support, taking a holistic approach which recognises that people’s health is determined by a range of social, economic and environmental factors.
• Social prescribing links people to community assets, giving them the power to manage their health and well-being.
• The principles of social prescribing are consistent with broader Welsh Government policy and feature in a number of Government commitments. Prosperity for All includes a specific commitment, reiterated in Our Valleys, Our Future; the ministerial taskforce for the Valleys delivery plan; to deliver a pilot to explore how social prescribing can help to treat mental health conditions.
• The Mental health social prescribing pilots are designed to provide an effective trial for what works in relation to social prescribing for mental health. The pilots will build on existing work across Wales to promote social prescribing, to ensure people have access to care and support which truly recognises them as an individual and takes account of the full range of factors which could be affecting their mental health and well-being.
• The two pilots run by Mind Cymru and the British Red Cross have been funded by Welsh Government, the pilots will provide individuals with tailored support plans, and support engagement with community services. The pilots operate in different areas across Wales and have different referral criteria to evaluate the effect of social prescribing on those with differing need.

• They will both be independently evaluated to add to the evidence base and provide valuable evidence about which interventions are most effective so that we can develop models to be used across Wales.

• The Learning to Grow project will work on the principles of social prescribing, and will be delivered by Growing Space with an investment of £0.7m EU funds as part of WEFO Priority Axis 1 - Tackling Poverty through Sustainable Employment, looking to increase employability of Economically Inactive and Long Term Unemployed people aged 25 and over, who have complex barriers to employment.

• Growing Space is supported by Newport City Council, ABUHB, Lottery Community Fund, and Lloyds TSB Foundation.