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A new £1.3 million project to support people facing complex barriers to employment compounded by mental ill health has been announced today by Jeremy Miles, Brexit Minister.

First published:
13 December 2019
Last updated:

This was published under the 2016 to 2021 administration of the Welsh Government

Learning to Grow will work with 300 adults living with mental health conditions across Newport, Monmouthshire, Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, who have been long-term unemployed. 

The project will support people to build new work-related skills through hands-on horticulture, woodwork, IT and craft activities, and a work-based learning programme which will lead to accreditation in job-relevant skills. 

The aim is to improve mental and physical well-being by encouraging a collaborative approach to environmental and learning activities which help to motivate and provide a purposeful daily routine, as well as preparing individuals for the work environment. 

The project will run for 3 years, and is being supported by £700,000 from the European Social Fund.

Jeremy Miles, who is responsible for EU funding in Wales, said:

“People who have been affected by long term mental ill health can find it difficult to hold down jobs due to lack of work and life skills, and a lack of confidence. 

“Learning to Grow will help people build real work skills to secure, and hold down, meaningful work. The project will also help to boost confidence, self-esteem and motivation, all of which play a vital part in supporting individuals back to work.

“Supporting the people who are furthest from the labour market has multiple benefits: empowering individuals, reducing dependence on NHS services, challenging social assumptions around mental health, and tackling poverty and unemployment in deprived communities.”  

Economy Minister Ken Skates said:

“Our Employability Plan sets out a number of measures to support people across Wales into work. I am pleased European funding is being invested in the Learning to Grow programme, which will be vital in helping individuals with mental health issues to overcome obstacles that may stand in their way to gaining employment.” 

The project will be delivered by mental health charity Growing Space. 

Bill Upham of Growing Space said:

“Growing Space is fully committed to supporting individuals and their families on their journey to recovery. The Learning to Grow Project will help people to overcome the barriers they face in re-engaging with society.”

Since 2007, EU-funded projects in Wales have created 48,700 jobs and 13,400 new businesses, while assisting 26,900 businesses and helping 90,000 people into employment.