Council service helping long term unemployed turn over a New Leaf

12 June 2018

Residents in Ellesmere Port who have been without a job for a long time often struggle to get the help they need because they feel they have so many personal barriers to overcome.

They may have physical, emotional or mental health conditions which affect their confidence, preventing them moving forward with their lives. 

Now, residents in this position are being offered a lifeline by a new Council-backed service which is already transforming people’s lives.

The New Leaf project, which is funded by the European Social Fund and the National Lottery, through the Big Lottery Fund, is offering one-to-one mentoring support and training to people with multiple barriers to progressing in their lives and who have been unemployed for more than a year as a result, or six months if they are under 25.

The focus of the New Leaf project is to support people to minimise barriers, access training, start job searching effectively and eventually move into employment through intensive one to one personal support.

One person who has benefitted from New Leaf is Rob Gordon from Ellesmere Port. He said: “After being out of work for three years due to having an accident in work, I was low on confidence and didn’t know what type of job I could do.  With the support and advice of my mentor, I have completed my fork lift truck license and am now going to complete my HGV qualification. The advice and guidance has been amazing.”

Another who has been supported is Rebecca Price from Ellesmere Port. She said: “I was shy and not a confident individual and didn’t think I would ever get a job. With the support, I have been to several courses to improve my confidence, lifestyle and employment skills. I have a CV as well as completing interview preparation skills. I have managed to secure my first ever interview.”

Cheshire West and Chester Council is sub contracted to deliver the New Leaf project in Ellesmere Port and is currently supporting 110 people to progress in their journey to employment. It aims to have supported more than 240 people by next year. 

Mentors work closely with each individual person to assess their circumstances and emotional wellbeing. They come up with a plan of action over a six month period to help that person become skilled for work, boost their confidence and provide intensive support to unlock their potential. Activities are varied and tailored to that person needs. 

Councillor Brian Clarke, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Infrastructure, said: “New Leaf mentors give their clients a big boost and help them get back on their feet. People leave the project with a can do attitude, an array of employable skills and often a secured job. 

“New Leaf really is changing people’s lives for the better by focusing on their individual needs and using all the resources available to help that person improve their prospects.” Mentors, participants and programme leaders gathered at a recent event at the Blue Planet Aquarium to celebrate the success of the programme to date. It was an opportunity to meet other people receiving support from New Leaf and to hear stories about how the project has changed their lives. 

Some of the positions that people have taken up since joining New Leaf are - lunchtime supervisors, retail assistants, warehouse operatives, customer care assistants, car showroom car cleaner, kitchen porters, an interpreter and canvassers. People have undertaken a range of training courses developed to meet individual needs and aspirations including taxi driving, fork lift truck, nail technician, GCSE Maths and photography courses.

If you are interested in finding out more about how New Leaf could help you, please contact the New Leaf team on 0151 356 6771.

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