A GROUP of Worcestershire organisations have each won European funding so they can continue to help the long term unemployed get back to work.

Worcestershire Community Foundation and Community First have announced European funding success for four community groups working in Worcestershire.

The European Social Fund Community Grants are worth up to £15,000 each to help the long term unemployed travel closer to the job market and it is not too late for further applications from county groups.

The successful projects are Worcestershire Snozelelon’s project, Step into Work. Worcester Snoezelen is an independent charity offering multi-sensory activities to people who have learning disabilities and individual needs. The ESF funded project has allowed them to offer a 10 month programme to support people with learning disabilities to learn new skills, gain experience through work placements and ASDAN accreditations. The aim is that all participants will finish the programme with better prospects to find paid employment.

Yellow Ribbon (Yellow Ribbon Mentoring) is a mentoring organisation which works with people leaving prison to support them reintegrate into society. They meet potential clients at HMP Hewell and provide one to one support on release to enable them to settle into a constructive lifestyle. There will also be a weekly drop in based in Worcester for six months which will focus on providing soft skills training for the workplace. The aim is to help clients sustain volunteering or employment opportunities which will provide a real sense of purpose.

Wyre Forest Nightstop and Mediation Service (Volunteer for Success) is a small charity that provides emergency accommodation for young homeless people in the Wyre Forest. The project aims to improve the self-esteem, confidence and skills of young people from the local community, many of whom have previously been homeless.The support will allow the service to offer more volunteering opportunities to vulnerable and often disadvantaged young people and in so doing help to improve their prospects of employment.

Wyre Forest Citizens Advice Bureau (Empowerment for Employment) provides volunteering placements to help women in particular, to become more empowered and confident to remove barriers to employment. Often they need to find work for reasons such as divorce or being widowed without having worked for a number of years. Women may need to improve their English language skills, if English is not their first language. They may have been made redundant after having done the same job for many years and be in need of updating their skills or have an inconsistent, incomplete and out of date CV from having concentrated on raising a family, supporting a husband’s career and or moving round the country. These women are approaching the CAB because they have encountered significant barriers to gaining employment and see volunteering as a means of boosting self-confidence and self-esteem and gaining valuable and relevant real work experience.

To apply for an ESF Community Grant, submit an application by Wednesday, September 17 at 5pm. All successful projects will need to be completed by May 31, 2015.

Further details and an application form can be found on the Worcestershire Community Foundation website: http://www.worcscf.org.uk/live-grants.aspx. All applicants must speak to the Grants Team to check eligibility on 01684 312730 or 07977 441860 before applying.