£2.8m to tackle high unemployment in Black Country
Four boroughs hit with high unemployment have been awarded a slice of a £12.8 million grant to help residents to find jobs.
Social housing estates in struggling wards in Wolverhampton, Walsall, Sandwell and Dudley are set to benefit from the cash that has come from the Government's City Deal initiative.
It was launched to improve the job prospects of residents in some of the most deprived wards in the country.
The money will be used to help thousands of young unemployed and disadvantaged families living on council estates to improve their skills and ability to attract work.
A total of £2.8m will be spent through schemes to be set up in Darlaston South, in Walsall; Bilston East, in Wolverhampton; Princes End, in Sandwell; and Kates Hill, in Dudley.
Bosses at West Bromwich based social housing landlord Accord Group successfully submitted a bid for the funding for the five-year Working Together programme.
Darlaston South ward representative Councillor Doug James welcomed the initiative which he said would change the lives of many people in the area that includes estates in Kings Hill and Moxley.
Councillor James said: "I am welcoming the City Deal to Darlaston. It will make a significant difference to families in one of the most deprived wards in the country. It is a major initiative that includes setting up job training projects to help people to improve their literacy skills and therefore improve their employability.
"It will definitely boost the prospects of many in the ward where we have a high number of young unemployed people and disadvantaged families."
Wolverhampton, Walsall, Dudley and Sandwell saw the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance fall by 1,561 to 28,437 in October this year, but despite the fall of 454 claimants in Wolverhampton the city has the highest rate of claimants in the UK, at 5.4 per cent of it's working population,
Accord Group spokesperson Claire Barratt said: "Working Together is an ambitious £2.8 million housing, jobs and prosperity pilot which aims to create jobs and improve the employability of social housing customers in four geographical areas – Bilston East, Darlaston South, Princes End and Kates Hill.
"The five year pilot is being delivered by the Accord Group as part of the wider City Deal and will work across the targeted areas, working with 2,800 people who are the hardest to reach and engage."
City Deals are a key part of the Government's objectives to stabilise the economy and boost private sector growth.
The major programme was unveiled by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in 2012 and the Black Council as among the regions invited to apply for support.
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