Building Better Opportunities

Building Better Opportunities: Barriers to Work (Barrow and South Lakeland) one of three projects in Cumbria being jointly funded by the Big Lottery and the  European Social Fund.

This project aims to support and work with individuals who are facing multiple and complex barriers to employment and who are furthest removed from the labour market. It will help them to move towards and into employment by supporting them to play a greater, more productive role in their communities, demonstrate increased skills and confidence and be much more likely to consider employment or volunteering as a viable prospect.

The project will deliver three particular strands of support focused around:

  • Mental Health: providing support to individuals who experience mental health issues – including a joined up response with the range of agencies who already work with such participants.
  • Financial Inclusion: supporting people to overcome financial and digital barriers to employment by providing financial and money management advice to enable participants to manage their money better and make it go further.
  • Working with the Social Enterprise Sector and wider Third Sector: providing work experience and employment opportunities for participants within social enterprises.

The programme of work will be delivered by a partnership of 30+ third sector organisations and Cumbria CVS is the lead and accountable body.

Partners have been recruited to the key roles within the project but there are currently (June 2017) some tender opportunities throughout the term which will support the delivery, or meet gaps in provision and when available they can be found below:

BBO – Customer Relationship Management Tender Spec
BBO – Support Role Tender

Both these tenders need to be returned to Laura Cadman by Friday 30 June 2017.

The partnership to deliver this project brings together 36 local and county-wide organisations which have an established track record in delivering local employment and opportunity programmes for some of the most vulnerable people in the county.

The partnership has come together on the basis of a wide-ranging scoping exercise undertaken by Cumbria CVS to understand which agencies were best-placed to deliver support for unemployed people in the target wards indicated in Barrow and South Lakeland. Initial expressions of interest were submitted by relevant organisations in August/September 2015, followed by detailed service delivery proposals in November 2015. This has led to an effective delivery model which makes optimum use of the knowledge, expertise and reach of all the partners

For project delivery, partners fall into three broad groups:

  • Key Worker partners will employ members of staff who will make the first point of contact with beneficiaries, and will support and assist beneficiaries throughout their time with the project, and beyond into further opportunities.
  • Placement Providers will offer time-limited periods of work experience, volunteering or employment preparation. Clients will be referred principally by Key Workers (although in some cases clients may arrive at placements directly).
  • Specialist Support organisations will offer one of two forms of support; either:

° Intensive support for vulnerable clients who need specialist assistance to prepare them for the world of work (for example, for clients who have addiction or mental health needs, or have experienced abuse or trauma) – this could occur before or alongside placement and work-readiness activity

° Specialist support to the network; particularly provided by county-wide organisations with expertise in particular issues (disability, health, addiction etc), this will offer training and professional development to the staff and organisations involved in the partnership to improve their understanding of, and ability to deal with, the multiple barriers faced by people who are far from the labour market Several organisations in the partnership will perform more than one of these functions, demonstrating, for example, both expertise in particular thematic areas and a high level of local presence and knowledge

If you would like further information on the programme contact:
Laura Cadman on 01768 800350 or

Lead projects in other areas:

  • Allerdale & Copeland: Groundwork
  • Carlisle & Eden: WEA