Pilot project in Wisbech to get people back into work not hitting expected targets

Community House, Southwell road, Wisbech. Picture: Steve Williams.

Community House, Southwell road, Wisbech. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Officials say a £48,000 pilot project in Wisbech to help jobless get back into work is not expected to meet its target.

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) provided the money to help Fenland Council retain Community House in Southwell Road for an extra 12 months.

The money runs out at the end of next month and Fenland Council has been working with the DWP to help users overcome barriers to skills, training and employment.

Councillors heard this week that the cumulative total of 98 to the end of December means the annual target of 192 is not likely to be met.

“There were four additional referrals for December – these numbers were lower partly because of the Christmas break,” says a report to councillors.

“In order to increase referrals we will be working at the Job Centre Tuesday afternoons and hosting presentations for various groups every other week.”

The report adds: “It was clear that the target set of 192 in which was a pilot project will not be met in the financial year.

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“However it was agreed with the DWP that the concept of developing community based approaches to bring DWP beneficiaries closer to the workplace was a new approach that needed to be tested.”

Of the 98 who have been on the programme the council says that:

•71 have developed employability skills

•11 have secured employment

•59 have accessed training

•37 have begun volunteering

•47 out of 47 in their end of support feedback said they were more confident to seek work

Community House is likely to close following a programme of cuts announced by the district council.

Chief executive Paul Medd told councillors that councillors had agreed that a business case for closing Community House and reviewing the community support team would go ahead.