Essex Project Overview


The National Lottery Community Fund is the largest community funder in the UK – we’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to 6 of 8 Section nine: Publicity (v13.0 31 January 2019) communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Since June 2004, we have made over 200,000 grants and awarded over £9 billion to projects that have benefited millions of people. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.


The Connecting Choices, Big Lottery and ESF-funded project, started at the end of 2017, aimed to provide holistic support for disadvantaged people who are not in work within Essex. It is targeted in areas with high levels of multiple deprivation as well as more rural communities. The project has helped 25 learners into education, 28 into employment and 5 who were economically inactive and are now independently job searching (Oct 2019). The Connecting Choices Essex Project will be coming to end in June 2020 with continued support offered until September 2020.


The project will work with 215 unemployed and economically inactive people aged 16+ who are at most risk of social exclusion to help them progress into training, education, volunteering and work. This may include individuals:

With health, mental health or learning difficulties;
Recovering from substance misuse problems;
Who are carers;
That are NEET (young people not in employment, education or training);
With low skills or qualifications;
From ethnic minority groups;
Ex-offenders and those who suffer from abuse or involved with gang violence;


The project aims to:

Improve social inclusion
Improve employability skills to enable people to take up employment
Improve the take up of vocational learning including apprenticeships
Increase levels of work experience and volunteering
Improve confidence and self-esteem
Improve access to childcare


Our Service winning Proposal


Connecting Choices Personal Coaches will offer an intensive, holistic service to meet individual needs through minimum fortnightly community-based coaching, support and review sessions, local group/project and online activities.


The following activities will be available based on the individual needs of participants:


Coaching: problem solving, decision-making, coping strategies and health condition management; resilience; employability skills; careers guidance to develop realistic job goals; CV creation/tailoring; employer expectations.


Training: communication, employability skills, workplace behaviours; access to accredited training to address skills gaps including Basic Skills, ESOL; discretionary budget for certificated training/development activity not available elsewhere to raise aspiration.


Job search: skills development 1:1/group workshops, assistance and support with applications and interview preparation


Criminal convictions: declaring your criminal convictions to employers and understanding your rights and legislation


Personal development: health & wellbeing 1:1/group sessions, including community sports, cycling/walking projects, substance misuse interventions.


Self-employment: IAG via Ixion’s Develop/Grow Your Enterprise programmes.


Signposting/advocacy with existing services e.g. health, housing; use of our Childcare Database; making/attending appointments e.g. for substance misuse support, with joint working to boost confidence and engagement with local services.


Volunteering and work placements: to build skills including tasters to inform career guidance and supported placements with volunteer mentors, tailored to meet participant needs e.g. people with disabilities, ESOL needs, women.


Into-work transition: action planning and one month’s practical support to promote sustainability including childcare.


For further information, to join the programme or to recommend a participant please contact:

Natasha Church, Head of Service- BBO: 07919 004301