Building Better Opportunities (BBO) brings together funding from the Big Lottery Fund (BLF) and the European Social Fund (ESF) to help tackle the poverty and social exclusion faced by the most disadvantaged people in England.

By joining up with ESF, we’ll be able to double the impact of Lottery money at local level and offer a route to European funding for organisations that may have found it difficult to access it in the past.

Help the most disadvantaged – As the economy strengthens and the labour market becomes more competitive, people who are out of work or not ‘job ready’ could become increasingly disadvantaged while seeking employment.

Some groups of people are more disadvantaged than others when it comes to finding work and it is these individuals that Building Better Opportunities aspires to help.

Tackle Social Exclusion – Social exclusion profoundly affects people’s physical and mental health. This can also have a significant impact on an individual’s confidence and their motivation to engage fully with support services, preventing them from seizing opportunities to improve their quality of life.

Social exclusion contributes to disadvantage and can also lead to people being out of work. So rather than just treating the symptoms, projects must help to address the root causes of poverty and social exclusion that are barriers to an individual finding work.

Be focused on the capabilities of each individual – We expect projects to build on people’s strengths by developing their skills and talents, thereby helping them to overcome the challenges they face.

To achieve this, activities need to be focused on the needs of each individual through tailored packages of support that go far beyond simply providing advice. Key to this will be ensuring the people who’ll benefit have a genuine and ongoing role in how the project is designed and delivered.

Lead to better coordinated services – In the main, services will need to be delivered in partnership between organisations that already have expertise in working with those most in need.

There are various existing services across England that can support people in difficulty, but they sometimes lack clear coordination at local level. Making connections and joining up such services would make it easier for the most disadvantaged people to use the services that best suit them.

Create new opportunities for work – The success of the Building Better Opportunities programme is constrained, in part, by the work available, so it’s just as important to think about creating new opportunities as it is to improve an individual’s work readiness. Engagement with employers is essential to ensure there are pathways for people to progress into work.

Who is a participant?

Anyone who will directly benefit from the project is a ‘participant’. Each participant must be eligible to receive support and you will need to report a range of personal information about that participant.

Someone is eligible to receive support if:

  • they are within the scope of the project outline you are delivering,
  • they are legally resident in the UK and able to take paid employment in European Union member states, and
  • they are unemployed or economically inactive.

Types of Participant

Seven main groups of people have been identified as being in need of support to enable them to move into paid employment. These are amongst the most disadvantaged people, often with multiple and complex needs, and will find it difficult to move into employment without mentoring and support. They will be recruited from across the SEMLEP area, and are:

  • NEET – Young people (15 to 24) who are Not in Education, Employment or Training or 15 to 16 years old who are in danger of becoming NEET
  • BME and Migrant workers
  • Older workers (aged 50 or over)
  • Carers – Those with caring responsibilities for a child or dependent adult
  • Adults with mental health issues or learning difficulties
  • Adults with physical health issues
  • Ex-offenders.

Who delivers the programme in Luton and Bedfordshire?

Luton Borough Council is the Accountable body for the project in the SEMLEP area.

There are 3 Consortium Leads in the SEMLEP area consisting of three organisations:

  • The Learning Partnership
  • Social Business Alliance
  • Voluntary Impact Northamptonshire.

The Learning Partnership is a Consortium Lead for Luton and Bedfordshire.

Delivery Partners

There are 18 delivery partners of BBO Support into Employment in Luton and Bedfordshire:

Delivery Partner Participant Group Delivery Area
4 YP UK NEETs Central Beds and Bedford
Autism Bedfordshire People with MH issues Luton, Central Beds, Bedford
Co-operation Matters People with MH and LD Central Beds and Bedford
Develop EBP NEETs Luton, Central Beds, Bedford
Disability Resource Centre People with physical disabilities Luton, Central Beds, Bedford,
Diverse FM NEETs Luton
Family Groups Ex-Offenders Bedford
Marsh Farm Futures BME Luton
MIND BLMK People with MH issues Luton and Bedford
NOAH Enterprise BME Luton, Central Beds, Bedford
PBIC BME Central Beds and Bedford
Reactiv8 Ex-Offenders Luton, Central Beds, Bedford
Royal Mencap People with MH and LD Luton
The Prince’s Trust NEETs Luton, Central Beds, Bedford
Voluntaryworks Over 50s Carers Luton, Central Beds, Bedford
Youth Inspired People with MH and LD Bedford

Time Frame

The project will be delivered in the SEMLEP area from 1 October 2016 until 31 March 2019.