Lancashire project awarded funding to continue supporting unemployed

Onward’s Employment Hub in Lancashire has received £340,000 in funding to help tackle unemployment in the region.

The hub commonly known as 1st Call is located in Accrington’s Arndale Centre and is supported by  Onward Homes and not-for-profit organisation Active Lancashire. The funding will allow a new project, MPT Steps, to run for 2 years from January 2022 until December 2023. The project will seek to address the issues faced by disadvantaged Lancashire communities in accessing or re-accessing the job market as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. MPT Steps will run alongside a number of projects the hub runs to improve health and wellbeing, skills and employment prospects.

A team of seven will provide tailored 1-2-1 support to residents living in Lancashire, giving them an opportunity to engage in a range of activities that will help improve their overall health and wellbeing and move them closer to the labour market. They will also provide support with issues such as financial support, housing needs, accessing training and volunteering roles, and advice on other external organisations that can offer support and guidance.

After the success of the project’s flagship unit in the Arndale Centre, the team has expanded its reach into Preston to provide focused support packages to local residents.

Jill Stazicker, the MPT Team Leader for Onward Homes, said:

“We have found that Covid-19 has had a huge impact on some people’s confidence and self-belief. Some of the individuals that we meet have been in the same role for many years, and as a result of the pandemic are now having to rethink their career pathway, which can be terribly daunting for someone who hasn’t had to search for a job in many years.

At the heart of this project is an ambition to support the residents of Lancashire into employment and help improve their overall health and wellbeing. The support that we offer is open to Onward and non-Onward tenants and is tailored to the individual’s needs to make sure we have the maximum positive impact.”

Darren Wright, Operations Manager of the Active Lancashire group, said:

“Last year, the More Positive Together project supported over 1200 people successfully into employment across Lancashire.

The unit in Accrington alone supported over 330 participants, of which 120 gained employment, and over 100 moved into job search with the team achieving all their targets 8 months ahead of the end of the project. Due to the great success of the provision in Accrington, we asked the team to extend their offer into Preston.

We are looking forward to building on our success to date and developing this service, particularly growing the team in Preston, with the support of Onward over the next 2 years.”


For more information about 1st Call, visit: 1st Call – Onward

For more information about Active Lancashire visit: