Fresh life chances delivered by £7m investment in new employability scheme
Thousands of people with a history of drug and alcohol misuse and mental health issues will be given fresh life chances by a new employability scheme backed by EU funds and the Welsh Government.
Cyfle Cymru will provide peer mentoring, training and confidence-building life skills for some of the most vulnerable people in Wales, helping them to get into work or take steps towards employment.
The programme – which marks an investment of £7 million over the next two years – is part of the Out of Work Service which was officially launched by Rebecca Evans AM, Minister for Social Services and Public Health at an event in Cardiff.
It will provide specialist employment support to help remove barriers to work, and includes community volunteering opportunities – allowing participants to pick up skills while making a visible and valuable contribution to the area they live in.
Cyfle Cymru will be led by registered charity and personal support services provider CAIS and delivered throughout the North Wales, Powys, Dyfed, Western Bay and Gwent areas by members of the Developing a caring Wales (DACW) consortium.
CAIS chief executive and DACW secretary Clive Wolfendale said the programme would provide new opportunities and new hope for people often excluded by society.
“Our experience and expertise in effective peer mentoring means this partnership can deliver and empower change in the lives of people affected by substance misuse and adverse mental health,” he said.
“Cyfle Cymru will help tackle poverty, ensure equal opportunity for all, raise skills, get more people into work, and improve the lives of people and our communities.”
Hafal chief executive Alun Thomas said his staff looked forward to delivering a personalised service to clients through peer mentoring.
“Mentors are effective because they can draw on their own experience of recovery: they have a unique understanding of the obstacles facing clients – and how to overcome them,” he said.
“The Out Of Work Service will bring real benefits to communities across Wales as people are supported to return to employment and fulfil their goals for recovery.
“We are especially pleased that the service has provided us with an opportunity for closer working with substance misuse partners in DACW – something we hope to build upon in the future.”
Cyfle Cymru will build on the success of the Welsh Government’s Peer Mentoring Scheme, funded by the European Social Fund, which ran throughout Wales between 2009 and 2014.