A NEW project has been launched to support young people who are out of work or education in Cheshire – thanks to European funding.

More than 5,000 people aged 16 to 24 in Cheshire East, West and Warrington boroughs will be able to access support from Journey First.

The jobs and training support programme, funded by the European Social Fund, will help young people achieve their goals by providing one-to-one engagement for those seeking opportunities for work or training.

Cllr Kathryn Flavell, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for children and families, said: “Sadly, there are many young people across Cheshire who are struggling to find work or to access the kind of education and training that would help them to progress in life, including individuals with long-term disabilities, mental health conditions or even homelessness.

Winsford Guardian: Cllr Kathryn Flavell, LabourCllr Kathryn Flavell, Labour

“As the country continues to face the huge economic impact of the pandemic, this programme has taken on even greater importance as we do not want to see these young people fall by the wayside and become the forgotten victims in the scramble for jobs.”

Journey First is specifically aimed at vulnerable young people and adults aged 16 to 24, cared for children, care leavers and adults disadvantaged by long-term unemployment or disabilities.

CEC is working on the scheme along with Cheshire West and Warrington councils.

It will see a team of employment support workers on hand to give targeted individual support and advice, and the service will still be available throughout the pandemic by email or by phone.

Cllr Robert Cernik, Cheshire West and Chester Council cabinet member for children and families, said: “We are delighted to be a part of the Journey First project, working together with the sub-region to strive for the best for our local families, individuals and young people.

Winsford Guardian: Cllr Robert Cernik, LabourCllr Robert Cernik, Labour

“The pandemic is a particularly difficult time for many residents across Cheshire and Warrington and this project is vital in providing one-to-one support, helping those adults and young people to make a real difference to their lives.”

While Britain left the European Union last January and ended its Brexit transition on December 31, money from the European Social Fund can still be used on projects across the country until 2023.

Cllr Matt Smith, Warrington Borough Council cabinet member for children’s services, added: “The programme makes a real difference, creating new opportunities by giving people who are not in work, training or education, confidence through personalised one-to-one support, providing skills and tailored employment advice and guiding individuals through the employment process.

“It is especially important at this time as the financial impact of Covid is being felt.”

To find out more about Journey First click here, email journeyfirst@cheshireeast.gov.uk or call 07814 079458.