Empower, Support & House – Creating opportunities, Changing lives

Ark People & Communities and Black Country Talent Match were delighted with the very positive feedback from our afternoon tea event in Manchester and it soon became clear that the CIH Conference provided a perfect platform to develop new partnership opportunities between housing and Talent Match colleagues and to start conversations aimed at bridging the gap between housing and youth unemployment.

Housing associations play an important part in tackling youth unemployment by providing young people with affordable, safe accommodation that gives them a stable environment in which to progress and develop and from which they can move into employment. Over one quarter (28%) of young people completing their Talent Match baseline survey said they rented, with a housing association being the most common type of landlord.

Talent Match targets young people who are furthest from the jobs market, including those who are completely outside of the benefits, work and training system and facing severe barriers to gaining the skills they need to get into work. They work with young people to boost opportunities for them by bringing together partnerships of employers, education providers and others, led by local charities.

The investment is co-designed with young people, both centrally and within each of the 21 partnership areas, and continues to have young people at the heart of decision making throughout the programme. Further information can be found https://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/talentmatch

The event was lead by Kim Babb, Black Country Talent Match (BCTM), Helen Scurr, Ark People & Communities, Oliver Herrmann, Wolverhampton Homes and Omari Thomas, BCTM. Kim Babb, Programme Manager for the Black Country programme delivered the first presentation of the session sharing lessons learnt and highlighting Black Country’s fantastic success thus far.

Kim’s presentation was followed by Helen Scurr who shared the support Ark People & Communities have been giving to the project and reported on the fantastic social return on investment BCTM are delivering. Helen gave insight to the individual case studies Ark has been collecting to capture individual experiences and support received through a series of interventions including the input from the young person and their mentor. Out of 16 case studies Ark collated the SROI value equated to £462,023, giving an average individual SROI value of £28,876.

Oliver Herman from Wolverhampton Homes shared their journey with Talent Match, showcasing how their partnership with BCTM has been mutually beneficial. He gave examples of how Wolverhampton Homes are supporting, empowering and housing local young people in partnership with the programme. Oliver explained it was Talent Match’s young person centred approach and their customised support which attracted Wolverhampton Homes to the project. Their partnership arrangement offers support and assistance to the communities they serve, addressing multiple barriers and tackling youth unemployment.

But it was Black Country Talent Matches very own Omari Thomas who stole the limelight. Omari gave a very honest account of his life before Talent Match, the personal barriers he faced and the tough life lessons he learnt along the way. He spoke highly of the programme and the opportunities it had brought his way. We look forward to following Omari’s journey and look forward seeing him grow from strength to strength.

You can find more information about Black Country Talent Match and how you can get involved with their project by visiting www.bctalentmatch.com watch

to see some of the fantastic work they do.

If you would like to get in touch with a Talent Match near you, we are more than happy to facilitate this. Ark P&C currently work with a range of organisations, including housing associations, local authorities, commercial organisations and charities supporting their SROI, CSR and social enterprise activities. Visit www.arkcommunities.co.uk to find out more about how we can help you measure your SROI, increase resilience and engage with communities.

If you would like to arrange an informal chat about our services or would like more information on our session from Manchester, please do not hesitate to contact me on jturley@arkconsultancy.co.uk.