First people join project to help get Tees Valley residents into work
December 2016

The first participants have joined an innovative project to support 2,500 people into work or training.

Step Forward Tees Valley, which is run by the Northern Inclusion Consortium (NIC) and jointly funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund, is dedicated to getting local people into work and training.

The project is targeting people who have previously found it hard to get a job because of issues such as self-confidence, addiction, a conviction or ill health. A group of 23 partners and local employers have come together to help address those barriers that have previously prevented people from finding work or training.

You can apply to join the project or be referred by an organisation you are already in contact with. Once accepted, you will be partnered with ‘a navigator’ who is with you every step of the way, reviewing what help you need and ensuring you get the right support from a range of specialist services and helping to build on your strengths. These services include: health, employment support, financial support, digital skills, volunteering, employer engagement, and enterprise.

Helen Collins, programme manager, said: “We are delighted to be working with our first participants. We have access to a range of specialist services to help people build upon their strengths and aspirations to overcome some of the complex reasons that have prevented them from finding work in the past.

“We want to hear from anyone across the Tees Valley who feels they could benefit from the support and expertise we have on offer. If you want to find work or get into training we can help and I urge you to get in touch.”

If you think you, or someone you know, could benefit from the project come along on the day, visit the website or call 01325 387713. You can also find the project on Twitter @SFTeesValley or Facebook /stepforwardteesvalley.

Helen Collins is available for interview about the project. Please call Hayley Jones, communications and marketing officer on 01325 387713 or 0782 5797439 to arrange


  1. For more information about Step Forward Tees Valley, please contact Hayley Jones: or 0782 5797439 or Helen Collins:

  2. The Northern Inclusion Consortium (NIC) is an established partnership of four of the North East’s largest charities: Mental Health Concern, DISC, Groundwork North East and Cumbria, and Changing Lives The Northern Inclusion Consortium (NIC) partners are as follows:

  1. Information about Building Better Opportunities:

  • The Big Lottery Fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK. It puts people in the lead to improve their lives and communities, often through small, local projects.

  • It is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. Every year it invests over £650 million and awards around 12,000 grants across the UK for health, education, environment and charitable purposes.

  • Since June 2004 it has awarded over £8 billion to projects that change the lives of millions of people.

  • The project has received up to £[amount] of funding from the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. The Department for Work and Pensions is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme. Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations. For more information visit

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