£3.9 million to help Black Country people manage money and find work

5 September 2016

£3.9 million to help Black Country people manage money and find work

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Black Country families struggling to manage their money or find work will be given a helping hand thanks to a £3.9 million project supporting them to get online.


Leading Midlands social landlords whg and the Accord Group are heading up the Black Country Click Start project, which has just won funding from the Building Better Opportunities programme.

Building Better Opportunities is a programme jointly funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund.

The three-year project will see the two housing providers working with partners across the region to deliver a range of initiatives aimed at helping vulnerable people make the most of the internet to manage their money and find training, volunteering or employment opportunities.

It will particularly target social housing tenants who will be affected by welfare reform changes such as the introduction of Universal Credit.

The Click Start partners will run a varied programme of fun activities at community venues, as well as giving people one-to-one support and training in their own homes, to boost their confidence and online skills.

The initiative will involve the recruitment and training of local people as ‘Community Champions’ who can informally engage with other people in their neighbourhood, encouraging them to make the most of the activities on offer.

Julie Haywood, whg’s Director of Employment and Training, said: “We are thrilled to have jointly won Lottery funding for this project, which we believe will make an enormous difference to families and individuals across the Black Country.

Click Start will tackle the practical, social and psychological barriers to people accessing services and information via the internet. The aim is to build people’s confidence and develop their digital skills.

This will enable them to find information online, access services, use price comparison websites and get budgeting advice which will help them manage their finances, as well as helping them search for training and employment opportunities.”

Mandy Holcroft, Executive Director of Operations at the Accord Group, said: “Through local digital groups and clubs, Black Country Click Start will also encourage people to get to know other members of their community, widening their social network and improving their general mental health and sense of well-being.

We have got some great partners on board to deliver this project, and the Accord Group is delighted to be part of something which will be so transformative for our communities.”

whg and the Accord Group will work with partners across the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership programme area to deliver the Click Start project.

Partners include Ashley Community Housing, Black Country Housing Group, Sandwell Citizens Advice Bureau, Groundwork West Midlands, Remploy, Trident and Wolverhampton Homes.