EXTRA funding to support communities in West Somerset to find work, training and development opportunities has been secured.

West Somerset Council successfully made a bid for funding from the Our Place programme.

The project aims to bring residents, community and voluntary organisations together to focus on key concerns locally and transform the way they deliver those services.

In West Somerset, the project, co-ordinated by the Council, concentrates on improving employment opportunities and access to essential skills and training. An initial grant of £2,500 from the programme was used to identify what was needed to support local people into training and employment.

The additional £10,000 now secured will allow the work to develop further. The authority has partnered with 18 organisations to support people on their journey towards employment and training using three approaches.

The first is ‘Bespoke Mentoring’ – mentors will be recruited and trained so they can provide appropriate support for individuals and signpost to relevant services. Emphasis will on improving self-esteem, confidence and aspiration.

The second is ‘Skill Swap Brokerage’ – this will provide opportunities for people to use, trade, strengthen and share their skills and experiences through learning from others.

People will be encouraged to register their details about a skill they have or a skill they wish to make use of.

The final approach is ‘A Passport to Employment’ - working with employers, job seekers and training providers to create a progressive employability skills programme.

People will be able to develop skills required by local employers to get a job.

Cllr Karen Mills, Economic Regeneration portfolio holder said: “We are delighted with the outcome of the Our Place bid.

“The money secured will help to support some very innovative projects to help our local communities.

“Ultimately what Our Place aims to do for West Somerset is to join up services to provide a one-stop shop for those requiring additional support.”

• If you are interested in becoming part of the Our Place project, contact Emily Wishart, Employment and Skills outreach worker on 01984-635221.