A scheme that is helping provide employment support for people with disabilities, including people with learning disabilities and with mental ill health, will continue for a further two years and four months if councillors agree on an option to secure money from the European Social Fund (ESF).
If agreed it will mean that The Employment Support Service (TESS), which helps between 25 and 35 customers into work and a further 100 people to sustain their jobs each year, will be funded until December 2019, with 50 per cent of the cost of the service funded by the ESF grant.
The European funding option will be reported to, and discussed by Councillors on Tuesday 1 August. The funding is subject to the Council covering the other 50 per cent of the cost of the service. A senior councillor responsible for jobs and regeneration says that it is vital that they should step in to make sure that TESS – which is to be renamed the Disability Employment Support service – continues because it has such an impact on people who would otherwise find it extremely difficult to find employment.
Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs and Regeneration, said: “This is a service that by rights should be provided by the Department for Works and Pensions but the reality is there is a gap in the market which we have identified.
“Although relatively small numbers, this service helps some of the vulnerable people in our city which is why the Council has stepped forward to ensure it is available – but with financial restraints we are under from cuts in government funding this is not something we can do forever.
“By securing European Social Funding matched by one off council funding it allows us to make more improvements so that after December 2019 the service is on a firmer footing.”
He added: “We need to continue to pursue other longer term funding opportunities particularly because these are vulnerable residents.”
The Council will provide £326,375 to enable the service to access the ESF grant of the same amount. Cllr John Mutton, Cabinet Member for Strategic Finance and Resources said: “In spite of the government’s austerity measures I am delighted to have been able to find the match funding so that we can continue to provide this much needed service for vulnerable people.”
As a Marmot city the Council recognises that employment is one of the key ways of tackling health inequalities and to enable people to achieve improved health