City Hall grant lets Islington realise £700,000 project putting residents in driving seat to improve employment prospects

Cally residents will be the focus of a brand-new £700,000 scheme that works with them on new ways to improve their employment prospects and futures, so they can carve out successful lives and careers in their own neighbourhood – a blueprint for change across the borough.

The GLA has announced a £350,000 grant from its Good Growth Fund, which will be matched by the council, funding the project to provide support such as mentoring or training in modern, welcoming spaces located where it’s needed.

With fairness at its heart, the aim is to work with residents to reimagine and redesign services provided by the council, voluntary and community sector organisations around the people they should be helping, so they are more useful, more integrated, more effective – and sustainable too.

Collaboration underpins the scheme, with Cally residents brought on-board from the start to help assess suitable spaces in council-owned buildings and steer decisions on how and where to make physical improvements, alongside employers, community organisations, councillors and council officers.

This could involve young people helping to design their own “safe spaces” in small-scale refurbishments within local buildings, where they can be comfortable to prepare for the world of work – for example, turning a hall in the council’s West Library into a hybrid youth employment hub and affordable workspace, run by a social enterprise.

At the same time, new ways will be found to share details of job and training opportunities across local businesses, the council and the third sector – which may currently be hard to find out about or access for local people.

The scheme’s focus will be on helping those most likely to be excluded from the opportunities available in the local economy.

Cllr Asima Shaikh, executive member for inclusive economy and jobs, said: “On the face of it, people in the Cally have an array of incredible career opportunities in their neighbourhood, which has only grown with the development of Kings Cross in the last few years. They deserve every chance to make the most of the new networks springing up on their doorstep.

“But we know there are gaps in the support available to get residents ready for these opportunities – particularly young people who may not be in education or training, or in danger of falling into crime.

“As part of our vision to create a truly inclusive economy, we will get to work with residents on redesigning support services and physical spaces around their needs, so residents can access mentoring or training in suitable, welcoming local settings, opening the door to the job opportunities they deserve.

“This is exactly the kind of thing young people told us they wanted to see through our ground-breaking Fair Futures Commission, and I’m pleased the GLA has seen the value in this project too. Together we will start building the foundations and test a model which can be replicated across the borough and beyond.”

The project will be supported by a new council officer role dedicated to helping connect job-seekers to job and training opportunities with local businesses and employment clusters.

Jules Pipe, London's Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, said: “This is a great example of a project which aims to give Londoners of all backgrounds the opportunity to be actively involved in shaping how their city develops.

“The Mayor and I are committed to supporting ‘good growth’ by building a city where all Londoners have access to the same opportunities and I look forward to seeing the positive impact this project has in the future.”

The GLA’s grant builds on the £1.03m that the council received from them to create affordable workspaces in Finsbury Park in March this year.

Notes to editors

For more information, see the Mayor of London's announcement of Good Growth Fund grant awards to reduce deprivation.

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