28 Mar 2017

On Tuesday March 7th at WCVA’s inaugural gofod3 event, the Active Inclusion Fund celebrated the life changing benefit EU funding has on individuals furthest from the labour market. Here is a report from WCVA’s Catrin Davies.

As attendees at the Active Inclusion Fund workshop sat down for presentations little did they know that the presenters were in fact former participants of Active Inclusion funded projects.

For many, the idea of public speaking is daunting enough. However, for Active Inclusion participants - many of whom  lack confidence, have experienced mental or physical health problems and have faced difficult barriers that have impeded their journey to employment - standing up in front of a room full of people, and delivering a presentation is beyond their wildest dreams.

This amazing feat of courage, knowledge and confidence clearly demonstrates the distance travelled by each participant.

The three projects at the workshop included CAIS's At Your Service project, Neath Port Talbot CVS's Next Steps project and Rewise Learning's Learn Thru Music - each project individually tailored to meet the specific needs of their participants.

However, these three projects are not the only ones; scores of organisations across Wales are engaging in activities funded through the Active Inclusion Fund and supported by the European Social Fund in order to help individuals in their journey to employment and reduce economic inactivity in Wales.

One such project in West Wales is doing just that. ReallyPro's Bounce Back project delivers support, accredited skills in IT, creative technology and media, through 1-2-1 support workers, skills and small group training session, work tasters and green spaces to embed employability skills and has worked with over 110 individuals.

Of those, 94 attained a recognised qualification, 23 entered volunteering, seven went into further education and 10 went into sustainable employment. Earlier this year, we commissioned a short film, which was shown for the first time at gofod3, introducing us to four participants, each with their own inspirational story to tell about their journey to employment and volunteering thanks to the help of the Bounce Back project and EU funding.

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For each individual in this film and many more, the Active Inclusion Fund has changed the course of their lives for the better. Helen, Franco, Nick and Amanda's positive testaments go hand in hand with the result of a recent survey conducted on WCVA members on the topic of Brexit. When asked if the EU funds received by the third sector in Wales have made a difference, almost three quarters of respondents believe they have made a big difference.