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Moving Forwards Together Project

New Charity Consortium Offers Volunteering Package to Help Tackle Back-to-Work Barriers

 

For individuals looking to get back into the workforce after a period of unemployment, or a career break, or for those currently economically inactive but wanting to take steps toward work, volunteering can offer a crucial step in preparation for a return to employment.

 

Being a volunteer can help develop new skills within a supportive environment offering structure and routine, to rebuild confidence and a sense of purpose. But for many people, a volunteering opportunity is just part of their journey to the workplace, as they also face additional barriers such as severe financial insecurity – from poor housing to not being able to afford essentials, poor health, through to a low level of educational attainment.

 

To help tackle these combined issues and provide an integrated solution to those wanting to enter the workplace, a new consortium – Moving Forwards Together has been formed.

 

The three Moving Forwards Together (MFT) consortium partners include Create Community, a Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE), Citizens Advice North Herts (CANH), and CVS North Herts. Working together in partnership, Moving Forwards Together will support unemployed and economically inactive people to enter volunteering. 

 

The consortium will assist at least 30 economically inactive people into work – in paid or voluntary roles. Economically inactive people are defined as those not in work and not seeking work and could be claiming benefits such as Employment Support Allowance and Incapacity Benefit, along with specific conditionality under Universal Credit.

By working together, the consortium can offer each client a personalised programme to help break down any barriers to employment. This programme will include short courses, digital skills training, mentoring, access to volunteering opportunities and advice to address any practical problems affecting their lives.

 

The three consortium partners include:

 

  • Citizens Advice North Hertfordshire will provide the practical advice element of the programme, with advice tailored for each client according to the complexity of the issue(s) and the client’s capability. Specialist services will be available if necessary.

 

  • 4 out of 10 people found it easier to find or hold down a job after receiving advice from a local Citizens Advice office (Citizens Advice National Outcomes and Impact Research, 2020). 97 per cent of clients said that practical problems made other areas of their lives more difficult, and all clients surveyed said their problems caused anxiety and/or financial difficulty.

 

  • By solving practical problems, Citizens Advice has shown how this helps increase people’s ability to cope better with day-to-day life, increase mental well-being, and set people on a more positive pathway towards training or employment.

 

  • North Herts CVS will help deliver ‘Introduction to Volunteering’ sessions and will help provide a personalised service to match volunteer roles to clients using the GoVolHerts.

 

 

  • Many VCSE organisations in the North Herts district will welcome potential volunteers, which in turn builds volunteer capacity in the district.

 

  • Create Community will support individuals who take part in the project to benefit from the sense of pride volunteering gives them, support their health and well-being, gain social connection, and gain valuable skills and experience that may lead to increased employment opportunities.

To join the project, prospective clients can self-refer via any of the three consortium services, or be proactively referred by the partners, and will be accessible to all who live or work in North Herts. Clients can meet in Letchworth at the CANH and Create offices, at the CANH office in Royston, or use our telephone or video services.

 

In addition, the MFT project will be promoted widely across North Herts and referrals will come from the Job Centre and other local statutory and voluntary services. 

 

Cllr Alistair Willoughby, Executive Member for Community & Partnerships at North Herts Council, who have funded the project said: “The new Moving Forwards Together consortium is a fantastic example of our voluntary sector coming together to help North Herts residents improve their life skills, training, and job prospects.

 

I look forward to following the journeys of the individuals who take part in the project and wish everyone involved huge success.”

 

 

For more information, visit https://www.nhcvs.org.uk/volunteering/moving-forwards-together

 

 

 

 

Citizens Advice North Hertfordshire is an independent, local charity reliant on raising our own funds to carry out our work to improve the lives of residents in North Hertfordshire and parts of South Cambridgeshire. 

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