Building Better Opportunities Lancashire

Building Better Opportunities (BBO) is a national programme from The National Lottery Community Fund who are matching funds from the European Social Fund (ESF) 2014-2020 to invest in local projects tackling the root causes of poverty, promoting social inclusion and driving local jobs and growth.

Selnet is leading three specialist partnership projects that are delivering support across Lancashire, Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen; ‘Age of Opportunity’, ‘Invest in Youth’ and ‘Changing Futures’ are unique in being delivered by 45 exclusively Voluntary, Community, and Social Enterprise Organisations. 

Each partner brings specific expertise in supporting disadvantaged people, and combine to provide individually tailored support, helping each participant to understand, address and overcome a wide range of barriers that they have identified will help them most. Participating in support from any of the 3 BBO projects is voluntary, free to access and does not affect rights to benefits.

BBO is dedicated to improving the prospects and wellbeing of people who are struggling with the kinds of complex barriers that make them ‘hard to reach’ for mainstream employment and training support services; these can include issues around mental health, low self-esteem and low confidence, health problems or disabilities, caring responsibilities, debt, low or no skills, access to childcare, BME, LGBT, chaotic lifestyles and substance misuse.

Initially, 3 years’ funding was secured for 3270 disadvantaged people to benefit from tailored support overcome complex barriers and move towards work and training.

As a result of the successful delivery of these 3 projects, our funding was extended to 2022, allowing a further 2960 disadvantaged people to receive support through the programme in Lancashire. Building Better Opportunities Lancashire will now be able to support 6230 people over the lifetime of the programme.

As of March 2021, Lancashire’s 3 Building Better Opportunities had engaged over 4400 people with barriers to work. With new skills, confidence and opportunities 960 had secured employment or self-employment, entered education or started a training course to pursue their interests and fulfil their ambitions.

Here are some of the people whose lives have been transformed by the support they have received:


Early in the programme we commissioned a social enterprise filmmaker to capture the impacts of the programme from the perspectives of delivery partners and participants:

Perhaps one of our projects could help you or someone you know?


Selnet’s Role

Selnet led a 12-month process of developing three Lancashire-wide partnerships to provide specialist employability and skills support to disadvantaged people. Two projects began in August 2016; the ‘Age of Opportunity’, supports the over-50s, and ‘Invest in Youth’, supports young people aged 15-24. The third project, ‘Changing Futures’, began in February 2017 and supports people with multiple and complex barriers to employment. 

In 2019, Selnet were successful in securing extensions to all 3 projects, bringing a total of £14.7M into Lancashire over the lifetime of the BBO programme.

To find out more, click on the links below to visit the project pages:

The Age of Opportunity project supports people who are over 50 and currently unemployed or economically inactive to improve their skills and employment opportunities.

The Invest in Youth project supports young people aged 15-24 who are unemployed or economically inactive including those not in employment, education or training ‘NEET’ or at risk of becoming NEET, to improve their skills and employability.

The Changing Futures project supports individuals who are at risk of exclusion from the labour market to overcome multiple and complex barriers and move towards employment and training.


Background Information on European Funding in Lancashire

The 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Growth Programme provides funds to help local areas stimulate growth. The funds support investment in innovation, businesses, skills and employment to improve local growth and create jobs.

A single ESIF Growth Programme has been set up to combine three separate European Funds. The Growth Programme provides funding to help projects in England that create jobs and economic growth.

For more information:

Lancashire LEP developed arrangements to ‘opt-in’ to the Big Lottery Fund (now known as The National Lottery Community Fund) to enable Lancashire to build a strong foundation for social inclusion programmes. This resulted in a £12.5m project for Lancashire in Building Better Opportunities joint funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and European Social Fund that will encompass 5 Lancashire projects.

Read more here:

European Structural Funds



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