Need a LIFT?
The Welsh Government’s latest ambitious programme to support jobless households was recently launched. The Lift programme is part of the Tackling Poverty Action Plan. I went along to the launch event, at the offices of Cardiff Community Housing Association, to find out more…
Lift recognises that some people in some communities will need more support than others to get, and keep, a job. With this in mind, the programme will be running across Wales in eight Communities First Clusters (soon to be nine), with the aim of getting 5,000 people into work, or at very least in a situation where they are immediately employable, by 2017.
It might sound a big ask, but it certainly sounds achievable. How will it work? Basically, every patch will have two staff members who are dedicated to identifying workless households then supporting them through the process of training, work placements and helping to remove issues that prevent people finding jobs. This is not about families being accused of not doing anything for themselves, this isn’t about the money, this is about identifying barriers and removing them, about building confidence and self esteem and about demonstrating that we all have a contribution to make to society. Some families in some communities are now third generation unemployed, they need practical and intensive support to break that cycle.
Lift staff, based within Communities First Cluster teams, will be able to spend time with individuals and households and will be well placed to take advantage of all the fantastic services that are already being provided in our communities. Time is what is needed to make people feel valued and to help them gain the confidence needed, to get up and go to work in the morning.
Why is the Wales Co-operative Centre interested? Intellectually, the social justice principles of Lift could be enough on their own. Practically, households that are eligible for support are very likely to also need practical help with both digital and financial inclusion in order to improve future prospects. We’re ideally placed to offer practical support through our national programmes.
It was encouraging to hear that the work of Lift will go across Welsh Government departments, as well as with the private and third sectors, to ensure real opportunities are developed in a wide range of organisations in Wales. The Communities team in Welsh Government recognises how vital it is to remove barriers, such as public transport links to employment hubs in Valley communities.
Anyway, don’t listen to me, listen to these guys, especially the young woman at the end.
If your organisation could offer a work placement or volunteering opportunity, don’t just think about it, get in touch with those running the Lift programme – you really could be the chance that was needed!