Two unemployed people are the first to progress through a new social programme, Action Towards Inclusion, where Beyond 2030 is key worker partner for York.
Action Towards Inclusion, part of the Building Better Opportunities project funded by the Big Lottery Fund and European Social Fund, to support people who are furthest from work, training and volunteering.
Beyond 2030 is working with Fred Hansford and Sarah Neaves, who are both from York and have been out of work for a total of 25 years, as part of a North Yorkshire voluntary sector partnership led by Your Consortium, Knaresborough, that secured £7.4m funding from January 2017 to December 2019.
Your Consortium is leading the Action Towards Inclusion programme in York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership area.
After identifying those who can benefit, Action Towards Inclusion offers support to help them overcome physical, psychological, financial and skills barriers and progress towards employment, training and education. The programme also aims to combat poverty and social exclusion.
Fred and Sarah were identified by Beyond 2030’s Action Towards Inclusion key worker, Richard Hawley, who met them regularly for coffee to discuss their circumstances and aspirations so a bespoke training package could be created for them.
Since then, the two have visited Beyond 2030 weekly for its Beyond Tomorrow confidence building and life skills development programme, with lead trainer, Marina Rigley, and have now progressed to a Level 2 in customer service and personal development, an accredited qualification awarded through Active IQ.
Fred, 49, who is single, is originally from Leicester. He left school with qualifications in English, maths and history before completing a Youth Training Scheme (YTS) course in catering.
He last worked in hospitality at York Races and has been out of work for five years.
He says: “The church I attend, which, coincidently, is also Sarah’s church, contacted Richard who interviewed me and invited me to be part of the programme.
“Being out of work for so long and surviving on social security led to anxiety attacks and depression. It has been very tough. There is not a lot of work out there and trying to find a job by putting out CVs or word of mouth, has been soul destroying, a real struggle.
“But now I’m on this lovely programme. Marina is very helpful, supportive and understanding and this has enabled me to progress on the programme without becoming stressed.
“I felt before that I did not have the knowledge and experience for the jobs I was applying for but this programme has made me feel much more prepared. I feel that working with Beyond 2030 on Action Towards Inclusion is a real turning point for me.”
Sarah Neaves, 49, has been jobless for 20 years after the York logistics company that employed her as an office worker went into liquidation making all staff redundant in 1998
“After that” she says “I had a nervous breakdown with the loss of my job and the general stress of life. I needed medical help.
“Then I decided I wanted to get back into the world and started doing voluntary work. This was followed by the opportunity to join Action Towards Inclusion where I have found Marina a real confidence booster. She has been relaxed and allowed us to take things at our own pace.
“I’ve been using my brain a lot more. I think that, on a scale of one to ten, my confidence was down to a two but it is up to eight now due to the help we are receiving and it could still go higher. Action Towards Inclusion is having a big positive impact for me.
“I felt at one stage before I came here that I may not be able to cope with going back to work but I feel it is much more achievable now. Action Towards Inclusion and Beyond 2030 are an excellent concept that is allowing Fred and I to get our lives back on track and we are grateful for the opportunity. It really is fantastic.”