West Suffolk-based Abbeycroft secures LEP funding for ‘NEETs’ project

Warren Smyth of Abbeycroft.

Warren Smyth of Abbeycroft. - Credit: Archant

Sports and leisure facilities operator Abbeycroft has been awarded £40,000 of funding to help young people in west Suffolk find work.

It is one of seven social enterprises and charities to receive cash from the Greater Cambridge Greater Peter-borough Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) under a £1million Prize Challenge Fund initiative.

Starting in January, Abbeycroft will use physical activity to help young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) to develop skills in order to increase their self-confidence and readiness for work.

This will include the chance to obtain leisure-related qualifications that could lead directly to employment, with the project bring run from Abbeycroft’s facilities in Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill, Newmarket and Mildenhall.

Also being supported are two projects in Peterborough, two in Wisbech and others in March and Ramsey. Each will receive £40,000 to cover a year of activity, at the end of which up to three will receive a further £50,000 to extend their projects in 2017.

Claire Higgins, who represents the voluntary, community and social enterprise sec tor on the LEP board, said: “With funding in short supply, these grants enable local organisations to help those furthest from the workplace gain the skills and experience they need to become work ready, more socially mobile, and ultimately secure employment.

“Each of the organisations have demonstrated a unique insight into their local community, and have designed projects that will meet their specifics needs.”

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Warren Smyth, chief executive of Abbeycroft Leisure, said: “We are really excited about providing this unique opportunity for young people across west Suffolk.

“They will not only learn skills that will help them to gain employment in the leisure industry but will have the opportunity to be physically active and improve their overall wellbeing including their self-confidence.”