National Lottery Community Fund, European Social Fund

The programme is part-funded by the European Social Fund

Building Better Opportunities

Background

Building Better Opportunities (BBO) project, UCan, is a project funded by the National Lottery Community Fund that uses match funding from the European Social Fund.

The project aims to meet local priorities identified through the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership, by tackling the root causes of poverty by promoting social and economic inclusion.

UCan supports those who are aged 18 years and over and places particular emphasis on those aged 50 plus, those with a disability, inter-generational unemployment, and rural isolation. We deliver in the local community as well as offering support remotely.

UCan supports participants’ individual needs; from supporting job-searching, training, education and employment, to improving health and wellbeing, establishing positive links with their community and improving their quality of life. 

The services we offer can:

  • Help to identify individual strengths and needs to ensure that each person can access appropriate services
  • Help to identify and achieve individual training/education/employment/self-employment or other goals (via career exploration and career counselling)
  • Connect individuals to community-based services and supports
  • Connect individuals to social support networks
  • Support individuals to complete education and training with qualifications in many fields of study
  • Support individuals to develop Basic Skills via in-house tutors (including IT Skills, Employability skills)
  • Assist individuals in job search, and job matching with support throughout the recruitment process
  • Support employment retention and job advancement once employment is secured, through in-work support
  • Assist individuals in building awareness of and managing their mental, social, emotional, and physical wellbeing (including specialist support from the WISE Choices Team)

WISE Choices (WISE Ability Services Specialist Intervention Provision)

WISE Choices Specialist Mental Health Service is an initiative of WISE Ability Services. The purpose of the service is to provide coordinated, holistic support for people with persistent mental health challenges who are taking part in the National Lottery Community Fund UCan project.

The WISE Choices team consists of Vocational Coaches and Occupational Therapists who deliver one-to-one and group sessions, designed to help build confidence and resilience and to reduce social isolation.

During the sessions we deliver Cognitive Remediation (CR) which aims to build effective strategies to improve thinking skills.

There is evidence to suggest that when a person experiences persistent mental health conditions, their cognitive functioning declines, meaning that everyday tasks can become overwhelming. We simulate everyday tasks through games, puzzles, and activities to help individuals develop their coping strategies and thinking skills such as memory, planning, and problem solving.

Locations

The project covers the entire Dorset region with offices in Bournemouth, Poole, and Weymouth. We deliver in the local community as well as offering support remotely.

Key support offered

Individualised support is offered to each participant from their Personal Champion. Together they identify goals, aspirations, and key support areas to create a journey plan.

A Personal Champion will then support a participant to access the correct services and organisations to help them move towards or into training, education, employment, or self-employment.

Support to employers from UCan can include:

  • Helping employers recruit the right staff for their business, free of charge
  • Pre-screening and short-listing suitable job candidates
  • Facilitating work trials to assess a job candidate’s suitability for a particular business, workplace, and job
  • Training in disability awareness, cultural awareness, and mental health in the workplace
  • Funded training with qualifications and work-based learning


If this sounds like something that would suit you or someone you know, please call 0300 303 3777 or register your interest.