Community First News & Updates

Building Bridges Programme jointly awarded Team of the Year at ERSA Employability Awards 2020

by | Jul 28, 2020 | News

Building bridges ERSA award winners cover

The Building Bridges Programme is celebrating its first national award after being jointly named as ‘Team of the Year’ at the ERSA Employability Awards 2020. The award, which was announced at an online celebration event, recognises the outstanding work of the Building Bridges programme team and the wider partnership led by managing partner Community First.

The Building Bridges Programme is a partnership of organisations that have come together to help people overcome their barriers to employment and education across Swindon and Wiltshire. The programme is part of the National Building Better Opportunities programme, jointly funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund, which aims to tackle the poverty and social exclusion faced by the most disadvantaged people.

The Building Bridges programme runs locally in Swindon and Wiltshire with a dedicated cross-sector team who focus on supporting people furthest from the labour market. This includes people who are unemployed or economically inactive and facing multiple, complex challenges and barriers in accessing the skills development, education and/or experience they need to be able to achieve and sustain ongoing employment. The entire team, incorporating the lead team, partner organisations and key support workers all work collaboratively on a day-to-day basis to ensure that participants can access the support needed to meet their individual goals and aspirations and engage with additional support.

Since its launch in November 2016, the programme has supported 1,221 eligible participants and is currently actively working remotely to support 363 participants throughout the Covid-19 lockdown. Over half of participants have achieved a positive outcome as a result of taking part in the programme including 24% who have moved into employment and a further 26% who have moved into education.

As well as delivering great outcomes for participants, the programme also represents good value for money. A cost benefit model developed by Pro-Bono Economics using a team of volunteer economists from the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, demonstrates that the programme delivers an economic benefit of £1.71 for every £1.00 invested.

The Building Bridges programme team is proud of the outcomes it has achieved for participants and is delighted to be recognised as part of the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) Employability Awards 2020.

The ERSA Employability Awards recognises and celebrates good practise in the field of employability, including the delivery of support and services for the nation’s jobseekers and learners. ERSA’s ‘Team of the Year’ award, sponsored by Leeds University Business School, recognises a team of frontline staff which has demonstrated outstanding commitment in meeting and exceeding the delivery aims of an employment provider.

The Building Bridges Programme jointly shares the ‘Team of the Year’ award with Include-IT Mersey, a Digital Inclusion project funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund to support digitally excluded, workless people in the Liverpool City Region to learn essential IT skills to help them get into or closer to work.

A full list of nominees and award winners can be found on the ERSA website.

Building Bridges Programme Manager Dave Potts said:

“We are really proud to receive this award, which recognises the fantastic way that all of the organisations within our partnership work together collaboratively to support each participant’s individual needs and help them achieve such successful outcomes”.

Community First Chief Executive Lynn Gibson said:

“We are so delighted that the team and the programme has been recognised. These programmes will be even more crucial as we recover from the impact of Covid-19. It is important that the best practice for programmes like this which bring together a local collaboration are being recognised.”

For more information about the Building Bridges programme please visit the programme website:

Notes to Editors:

The National Lottery Community Fund is the largest community funder in the UK – we’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Since June 2004, we have made over 200,000 grants and awarded over £9 billion to projects that have benefited millions of people. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.

The Building Bridges programme has received £6.4M of funding from the National Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. The Department for Work and Pensions is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme. Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations. For more information visit

combined BB funder logo 2020

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