As a result of funding received from the Reaching Communities Fund, Upturn, a social enterprise based in Oldham, has worked with disadvantaged local communities of Oldham and Rochdale, enabling more than 250 people access to opportunities to change their lives.
Within the first year of this project, Upturn has already engaged with 251 project participants, all local people from disadvantaged communities across the boroughs of Oldham and Rochdale and have seen an improvement in self-esteem and confidence through increased skills and capability, as well as an improvement in mental health associated with financial hardship through gaining employment.
Other successes of the project include 154 project participants have secured local jobs, training and/or further education, with 56 of the cohort entering further education or training courses including Health & Social Care, ITC, English, Public Services, HR and Engineering.
Maria Williams, Co-Founder of Upturn, said: “To be able to truly help these incredible people, who were already so disadvantaged in society and then disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, is a true honour.
“The talent, commitment, and over-whelming sense of determination to overcome true adversity is so inspiring and a real privilege to play a small part in and witness first hand.
“Our core value at Upturn is to make a real, positive difference to the people to the communities we serve and this project is a true demonstration of this. We couldn’t be prouder of each and every one of the people we have helped so far and look forward to what the next 12 months brings.”
As part of the project, all participants received extensive package of support which reflected and prioritised individual needs and addressed gaps in skills, self-confidence and qualifications by building self-esteem, self-belief, and capability at the pace with which the beneficiary is comfortable.
One participant commented: “Having applied for more than 50 jobs and constantly being rejected – often told I had no relevant skills – it started getting me down – I had no confidence or self-belief and had no aim in life.
“ … the Job Centre referred me to Upturn. I received five weeks of intensive support, advice and guidance and slowly began to feel more confident… they have changed my life around.”
Maria added: “This program has changed the project participants lives for the better. It’s engaged, inspired, and motivated people – through use of a stepped, non-threatening, supportive approach ensuring all activities were available at the pace which each individual person was comfortable with.
“Our approach recognised that people who are struggling and are increasingly disadvantaged need to feel listened to and valued. By working with them and identifying what the best approach was to bring stability into their lives and avoid them falling further and further behind, we have been able to achieve some incredible results which we are really proud of.”