Hartlepool council ponders new funding bid to boost jobs and education

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COUNCILLORS are set to meet to discuss bidding for a new pot of funding aimed at helping youngsters into education, training or employment.

Members on Hartlepool Borough Council’s regeneration services committee will meet to hear more details about the multi-million pound scheme, which could benefit at least 79 young people in town.

The purpose of the report is to inform councillors of a new tendering opportunity from European Social Fund (ESF), and co-financed by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) and Education Funding Agency (EFA), to target 14 to 19-year-olds who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) or at risk of becoming NEET.

It comes after the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, officially announced the tendering opportunity in May.

Officers hope it will help cut the overall and youth employment rate.

The tender covers the North-East and it states contracts will be awarded at a sub-regional level covering Durham, Tyne and Wear and Northumberland and Tees Valley.

Hotspot areas for NEETs in town include the Brus, Manor House and Stranton areas of Hartlepool.

The indicative funding available across Durham, Tyne and Wear and Northumberland is £5,281,553 and £2,173,618 in the Tees Valley area.

The minimum number of participants to be recruited in this area includes 79 in Hartlepool, 249 in Darlington, 199 in Middlesbrough, 140 in Redcar & Cleveland and 355 in Stockton.

A report by Damien Wilson, assistant director of regeneration, said: “This is a payment by results project and as such, the accountable body (and therefore the sub-contractors) will not receive any funding until they have delivered the outcomes.

“At a Hartlepool level, the current Tees Valley Works team would deliver this tender opportunity as it complements the existing Going Forward Together NEET reduction project.”

Officers hope the project will “positively contribute” to tackling the longer term consequences of child and family poverty by preventing young people from becoming long-term NEET.

The scheme would focus on those who have no or low level skills, learning difficulties and or disabilities, including those with mental health and other serious health issues, are supervised by the youth offending team, are young parents or are in care or leaving care.

The regeneration committee will meet on Thursday, June 20 at the Civic Centre.