£1.8m project to help mentally ill back into work in Essex

�1.8m boost for Enable East mental health project.  L-R: Paul Feasey Signpost, Chris Paveley North Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, Sarah Knights Realise Futures, Phil Edwards Employ-Ability, Rachel Jennings Enable East. Photo: Contributed

�1.8m boost for Enable East mental health project. L-R: Paul Feasey Signpost, Chris Paveley North Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, Sarah Knights Realise Futures, Phil Edwards Employ-Ability, Rachel Jennings Enable East. Photo: Contributed

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A project helping people with mental health problems get back into work in Essex has been given a £1.8million funding boost.

HeadsUp, run by Essex-based Enable East, will provide support, mentoring and practical advice to those who have been long-term unemployed but are looking to go back into the workplace or undertake training.

A high proportion of people claiming unemployment benefits in Essex also experience mental health problems, Enable East said.

The three-year initiative, which aims to help hundreds of people, has been awarded a grant by the Building Better Opportunities programme, which is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and European Social Fund.

Susannah Howard, Enable East director, said: “HeadsUp has been developed using the experience we have had at Enable East and among our partners to ensure what we are offering is a solution to an identified need.

“We know suffering from a mental health problem can often mean people lose the confidence and resilience to apply for and to sustain employment. That is why we will address those issues as well as providing practical support with job searching, obtaining a position and continuing support once a job has been secured.

“HeadsUp will allow us to work with those people who may not be eligible for help and support through other mental health services but who are ready to make a positive change in their lives.

“This is Enable East’s third significant Big Lottery Fund grant and we are delighted to be once again chosen as a recipient.”

Enable East will work alongside Employ-Ability, Signpost, North Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust and Realise Futures.

The peer mentoring scheme will allow participants to be supported by people who have experienced similar situations.

People interested in taking part can either refer themselves, or be signposted to HeadsUp through other organisations. The HeadsUp team will also engage employers in Essex to explore and develop strategies to improve how people with mental health problems are perceived when applying for jobs, and who are willing to support participants through work experience placements or more permanent positions.

Delivery is expected to begin in early 2017.

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