Supporting hard to reach unemployed people into work.
Worklessness as a result of long-term illness is a headline issue – six million people in the UK live in households where no one works, costing taxpayers an estimated £13 billion a year in benefits. In the City of Sunderland 26% of the working age population are economically inactive, with almost 4 times as many people claim Incapacity Benefit than Job Seekers Allowance.
One NorthEast, the Regional Development Agency for the North East of England, asked livework to run a pilot scheme with Sunderland City Council to explore how the long-term unemployed interact with employment services and to develop innovative ways to reach and support individuals into work.
Our Make it Work project is now a two year and £5m Working Neighbourhood Fund service for Sunderland City Council.
Our research showed that hard to reach unemployed people tend not to volunteer themselves for government employment programmes. They need to be engaged in their local communities by people who understand their situations. The Northern Way Worklessness Pilot – Make it Work, brings together a number of specialist community organisations covering mental health, drug rehabilitation and carers, in a coordinated approach to worklessness. Make it Work partners ensure that their clients are well and socially stable before promoting them into mainstream training, and then into jobs.
Over 280 practitioners, employers and clients contributed to the design of the Make it Work service that has trialled a number of new service propositions. To date the scheme has provided support to over 800 people, 200 of whom have already found employment. While David Freud, the government adviser on welfare, has estimated that it is economically rational to spend up to £62,000 on getting the average person on incapacity benefit into the world of work, the average costs per individual of our Northern Way Worklessness Pilot is less than £5,000.
February 2006 – ongoing
View project film on Design Council website
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