Cabinet Office Social Exclusion Taskforce

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Minister visits Manchester projects for the socially excluded

14 May 2008
CAB053/08

Phil Hope, Cabinet Office Minister with responsibility for social exclusion, today visited two ground-breaking projects that are helping Manchester's most vulnerable adults to find a home and a job.

The visit took place during Adult Learners Week, and the Minister was keen to highlight the crucial role that adult education and training can play in turning around the lives of disadvantaged adults.

Providing crucial support for those adults most at risk of being unemployed or homeless, to prevent them falling into a lifetime of disadvantage, is one of the Government's top priorities.

Phil Hope met a number of local people who face this kind of disadvantage – including offenders, ex-offenders and adults with mental health problems – who are being helped back into training and employment at the Northern Education and Resettlement Information Services (NEARIS) in Ancoats.

The centre provides a wide variety of courses and training to help people get back into work. During his visit Phil Hope spoke to learners in workshops on IT, pottery and creative writing.

The Minister went on to visit Beaumont House in Stalybridge, a housing scheme with extra care and support for adults with learning disabilities. Here he was shown around the 25 self-contained apartments by the residents. Each resident has a key worker and a support package specially adapted to their needs including education courses and work placements.

Phil Hope said:

“I feel passionately about helping society's most vulnerable adults improve their life chances. Projects like NEARIS and Beaumont House help severely disadvantaged adults to get back on their feet and into employment and into settled accommodation.

“At projects like NEARIS individuals who may find it difficult to get jobs because of previous prison sentences or mental health problems are helped back to employment through creative and stimulating workshops, and the all-important support of the staff here.

“Beaumont House gives its residents a chance to lead an independent life. Having learning difficulties should not be a barrier to a fulfilling life. I'm very impressed by the accommodation here, and the tailored support packages that the staff provide for the residents.

“As a Government we are totally committed to giving disadvantaged adults a chance of a settled and productive life. It's hugely important for the individuals concerned and it also makes life better for everyone in society”

David Fisher, Chief Executive of NEARIS said:

“Our project shows that learning and skills can change lives. Our students were really pleased to meet Phil Hope today, to talk about some of the problems they've faced in the past, and how education is helping them to forge a positive future.”

Tameside Council Adult Services Unit Manager Diane Walton said:

“The Minister's visit is an excellent opportunity for Tameside to showcase Beaumont Place, which gives individuals the opportunity to live full and meaningful lives within the local community.

“The scheme opened earlier this year and people have had the opportunity to learn new skills which will equip them for independent living. Those people who have moved in have already settled well and adapted to a new life which has brought with it new experiences and opportunities – and everyone is very proud to have their own front door!”

The Government's commitment to helping socially excluded adults back to work and into settled accommodation is set out in a Public Service Agreement (PSA), one of only 30 agreed across the whole of Government in the comprehensive Spending Review in 2007. The PSA focuses on four groups of people: ex-offenders, adults with learning disabilities, adults with severe mental health problems and care leavers, and work on it is lead by the Social Exclusion Task Force in the Cabinet Office.

Notes to editors

  1. The Socially Excluded Adults PSA was unveiled last autumn as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review. It is aimed at helping care leavers, ex-offenders, people with mental health problems and people with learning difficulties find For further details visit: http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/social_exclusion_task_force/psa.
  2. The Social Exclusion Task Force is part of the Cabinet Office. It aims to extend opportunity to the least advantaged so that they can enjoy more of the choices, chances and power that the rest of society takes for granted. It works with the rest of government to identify priorities, test solutions, and facilitate collaboration across government. For further information visit: http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/social_exclusion.
  3. Adult Learners Week is run by the National Institute of Continuing Adult Education (NIACE) who are holding a series of events and award ceremonies to mark the importance of adult education to individuals and society. The North West Regional Awards were held in Stockport today, one of the winners was Andrew Dean, a 46 year old ex-offender who left school with no qualifications and is now studying to become a youth worker.
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