Building Better Opportunities North East

The Big Lottery Building Better Opportunities programme in the North East LEP area covers four themes:

  • Multiple barriers to employment
  • Health and mental health inequality
  • Financial inclusion
  • Digital inclusion

In early 2015 VONNE worked with Big Lottery Fund and the North East LEP to develop a paper setting out the background of social inclusion issues in the North East LEP area to inform the development of the programme. 

Download Social inclusion and combating poverty and any discrimination (PDF: 1.2MB)

The Building Better Opportunities programme launched in early June 2015.  Specific information on the programme in the North East LEP area can be found on the Big Lottery Fund website.

In the North East LEP area there are four Building Better Opportunities programmes:


Reaching Out Across Durham (ROAD), County Durham. Lead partner: Groundwork North East & Cumbria

Groundwork North East and Cumbria are leading a £2m project to provide holistic support to those furthest from the labour market across County Durham. Working in partnership with 12 voluntary and community sector delivery partners who are specialists in employment, health, financial and digital inclusion and volunteering, the Reaching Out Across Durham project will support 625 long term unemployed people into or towards employment. 

Download an overview document on the ROAD project (PDF:283 KB).

Visit the ROAD website.


Bridges Project, Northumberland. Lead partner: Northumberland County Council

The Northumberland County Council led ‘Bridge Project’ sees an investment of £3.4m to support individuals from Northumberland who are furthest from the labour market to move closer to employment. The Bridge Project will work with a number of Northumberland VCS partners to provide a holistic and cohesive package of interventions to support people furthest from the labour market move towards and into employment; while acknowledging that for many, they will have support needs outside the arena of traditional employability support. The Bridge model will address this as part of an holistic approach to delivering a work readiness programme.

Download an overview presentation on the Bridge project (PDF:283 KB).

Visit the Bridge Project webpage.


Multiple Barriers to Employment, Tyne & Wear. Lead partner: Wise Group 

The Wise Group are leading a £7.2m project to provide holistic support to those furthest from the labour market across Tyne & Wear. The Wise Steps project will be available to all residents of Tyne and Wear who are of working age, unemployed or economically inactive, and have multiple challenges to getting into work. The target groups will include unemployed people, people with disabilities, black and minority ethnic (BME) individuals, ex-offenders and lone parents. The Wise Group will deliver the project with a diverse partnership of more than 40 locally-based organisations including specialists with expertise in assisting people in communities across the area. These will include experts with experience in employability, digital inclusion, financial inclusion and community enterprise. 

Visit the Wise Steps webpage.


Health Barriers to Employment – Moving On Tyne & Wear. Lead partner:  Mental Health Concern

Mental Health Concern (MHC) is the lead partner for the £5.9M MOTW project, supported by Northern Inclusion Consortium (NIC), an established partnership of four well respected not-for-profit organisations that help people with complex needs to make sustainable life changes (DISC, Changing Lives, Groundwork North East and Cumbria and Mental Health Concern). MOTW brings together a partnership of 17 well-respected, specialist, voluntary, public and private sector organisations, with a proven track record of delivering health, wellbeing, training and employment support to people experiencing a range of health issues and complex needs. All our partners are committed to making a real difference to make lasting and positive change to the lives of 1,620 people in Tyne & Wear, whose primary barrier to employment is a health issue.

Download an overview document on the Moving On Tyne & Wear project  (PDF:154 KB).

Visit the Moving On Tyne & Wear website.