West of England Works Partner Helps Change Lives

A West of England Works participant receiving help and support through partner organisation, Barton Hill, has started to make positive changes in his life thanks to the support of the programme.

The West of England Works project is a partnership which aims to help unemployed and economically inactive people in the West find employment.

Led by Weston College, the partnership includes a range of voluntary and community organisation across the West of England. The project is part of the Building Better Opportunities programme, and has received £6 million of funding from the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund.

Speaking to his specialist Work Coach, the participant (who wishes to remain anonymous) said that “his experience of the Barton Hill project was really positive, and that he really felt supported in every way, by everyone that he came in to contact with.”

The participant has gone through a tough period in his life recently, experiencing significant mental health problems that knocked his confidence. However, by taking part in the project, he has taken the first steps to gaining confidence and making positive changes in his life. He has recently started as a volunteer which has made him feel that he is contributing positively to society, as well as gaining skills and experience which will help him move closer to paid work in the future.

His Work Coach said: “[The participant] wanted to say how grateful he was. He wanted to express that the volunteering opportunity the project has supported him to find has made a huge impact on how he is feeling, and that he can look forward to having some structure during the week. He said everyone in the place he volunteers has made him feel really welcome.”

The Barton Hill Settlement is an independent charity managed by a committee of mainly local people, and provides a wide variety of services. It was originally set up in 1911 as part of the University of Bristol, but is now independent providing support to the long-term unemployed.

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