A generous grant of £470,000 from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) has been awarded to South East housing provider, Radian, as part of the exciting new Increase Valorisation Sociale project. The grant money will help to further the work of Radian’s already award-winning Employment Support Team.
Increase is the product of a partnership between ten housing associations and training providers across the south and east of England and the north of France, with £5.9 million in funding coming from the ERDF. The project aims to support 4,000 unemployed people into employment, create opportunities for 3,200 more and get 1,200 new small businesses off the ground.
Radian has contributed an additional £270,000 to their grant money, bringing their total pot to £740,000, as they recognise the importance of investing in the wellbeing and development of local communities. Employment and Training Manager, Chris Adams, said of the grant: “Having the funding approved is the culmination of two years of hard work and planning. We are so excited to get started on the project and are preparing to deliver training and support to the communities and residents who will benefit the most from the amazing opportunities available.”
Increase will focus on finding innovative ways to engage and support those frequently excluded groups who face barriers to employment, such as single parenting, disability and multi-generational benefit dependency. A number of community ambassador roles and a strong stakeholder network in each neighbourhood will provide on-going support to micro-entrepreneurs and help continue to engage future participants, ensuring the project’s long lasting legacy. The University of East Anglia will provide an academic evaluation, ensuring that reports and best practises can be shared with all those involved.
Many Radian residents have already graduated from the in house Go Your Own Way courses provided by their Employment and Support Team; ten weeks of bespoke training, website and social media advice, one to one business mentoring from local entrepreneurs and a whole range of other support and learning opportunities. The Increase project and ERDF funding means that many more will be able to benefit from similar help to get started on their road to self-employment.
Joe Maloney, a Go Your Own Way alumnus and founder of Revival Property Services, had this to say to anyone thinking of signing up: “Do it! And be willing to let the process take you on a journey with your business ideas that you might not have considered beforehand”.