Lancashire’s Age of Opportunity project was delivered exclusively by social enterprises and community organisations. As Lancashire’s social enterprise network, we are proud have led this specialist partnership whose work transformed lives of older people across Lancashire.
This project began its work in 2016. Following two extensions the delivery continued until March 2023 and is now close. Over 7 years, this project brought a total of £5.746M into Lancashire (funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and European Social Fund).
The Age of Opportunity project was designed specifically to meet the needs of over 50s who wanted to work but were unable to without additional skills or support. A core focus for this project was supporting older people who were most at risk of social exclusion, for example; due to isolation, digital barriers, mental or physical health difficulties, homelessness or being full-time carers. Hear more from some of the people involved in this short film.
Through the Age of Opportunity project, delivery partners worked with participants to understand their interests, aspirations and barriers to work or training. Participation in support through the Age of Opportunity was voluntary, free to access and did not affect rights to benefits.
The partnership aimed to support 2322 people over the age of 50 through the project’s lifetime to overcome their barriers and move closer to employment, education or training. We are delighted to highlight the impacts our sector can have on meeting the needs of marginalised people across Lancashire.
‘Job Search’ statistics show outcomes from a comprehensive journey:
Each participant included in our formal project targets of ‘Job Search’ had reached a key milestone from a comprehensive journey. A raft of interventions were enabled for participants who were ‘furthest from the labour market’ and held back by complex circumstances – including carer responsibilities, housing instability, physical disabilities, mental health barriers, debt, PTSD, addictions and chaotic lifestyles.
The wide variety of skills and experience of Age of Opportunity’s project partner staff teams enabled direct support to be tailored for individual participants. From their work to overcome challenges, participants could look ahead towards a fresh start, based on their interests: through coaching and mentoring, developing personal skills and building self-confidence, attending training courses and building qualifications and developing their CVs – altogether enabling participants to be able – and willing – to actively search and apply for jobs.
Additional Outcomes through Age of Opportunity
Claire’s story: From breakdown to business owner
Claire had to leave her professional career after 15 years following a nervous breakdown. Her anxiety, lack of confidence and confusion about what to do next was holding her back from a fresh start. Through the Age of Opportunity project, Claire was supported to improve her confidence, skills and knowledge to set up her own business:
Age of Opportunity in Action:
Here are some of our participant’s journeys through the Age of Opportunity project:
The Age of Opportunity project was part of the nationwide Building Better Opportunities programme to help tackle the poverty and social exclusion faced by the most disadvantaged people in England. The Building Better Opportunities programme was funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England.