Communities Minister Andrew Percy today (6 April 2017) announced a multi-million pound cash boost to community-led efforts giving local people greater control over local services.

More than 54 projects will receive a share of over £3 million communities funding to help deliver additional services.

Schemes will tackle social isolation, help people find a job, and support those facing homelessness. A third of the projects receiving funding will focus on offering personalised schemes to improve people’s health and general wellbeing.

Communities Minister Andrew Percy said:

Making a real difference to people’s lives doesn’t always happen by Whitehall diktat. It also comes from the dedication and inventiveness of local people who know their area best and the issues most important to them.

That’s why we’re supporting these innovative projects which provide tailored services that make a real difference to people’s lives.

The Communities Fund was launched in December 2016 and totals £3.25 million. It’s targeted at providing dedicated and personalised support to some of the most vulnerable people in society and those people who are struggling to manage.

A community-led project in Ilfracombe, Devon, addressed the high levels of youth unemployment in the town by creating 50 apprenticeships. This has saved around £1 million in benefits and is now funded by local partners. It has since expanded to 100 annual apprenticeships, with more than 50 young people helped into full time employment.

Plymouth City Council, with Devon and Cornwall Housing, NHS England and Royal British Legion, will deliver employment skills to local homeless people and other hard to reach groups. They will be given the opportunity to learn how to mend bicycles from expert mechanics.

The regular training will also give them the opportunity to earn qualifications. The workshop will also be open to the public, so customers will be able to take advantage of the skills of the newly trained bike mechanics and in turn allow them to develop customer service skills.

Similar programmes have shown that significant benefits can be achieved from small amounts of funding that help local community projects to try different approaches to local priorities.

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