We’ve got your back – Cotswold District Council supporting young people through the Cotswold New Start initiative

Cotswold District Council Press Release – 31 March 2022

Cotswold District Council, in partnership with Cirencester Town Council, on behalf of the Bingham Library Trust, and the wider Cotswold Youth Network, has launched a programme to support young jobseekers between the ages of 16 and 25.

Cotswold New Start provides a holistic service, offering additional, personalised support to young people who are in contact with the Job Centre but struggling to make progress in their employment, training or further education.

Jenny Forde, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “It’s been an especially tough time for young people during the pandemic with education and work life being heavily disrupted and we want to show our young residents that we are here for them. We are giving them more of our focus and time and really supporting those struggling to kick start their future.”

“Cotswold New Start is a responsive and innovative approach to youth support. It shifts away from dealing with immediate needs and focuses on proactive long term solutions; a great step in the much needed transformation of our youth support services. With this service, we aim to help the next generation to boost their skills and employability and get them into work.”

The programme specifically targets those with complex needs, helping to develop personal capabilities and unique strengths to enable them to access employment opportunities. The support on offer includes motivational support or significant signposting to other information, resources and programmes.

Ellie Dykes, Cotswold District Council’s Youth Support Project Officer, said: “We encourage young people to take charge of their development by working with them to identify any barriers which may be holding them back. This could be issues with things such as health, housing or educational achievements. We then create a personalised approach together with the young person and help with signposting to any other helpful organisations.”

The Youth Support Team is based in the ‘C-hub’, a charity and community resource centre at Bingham House in Cirencester. The C-hub enables local charities, organisations and individuals to meet, network and support each other.

An outreach service and remote support service are also provided for people who may be geographically distanced from Cirencester. This ensures that the service is accessible to people who may have issues with transport and enables people in rural areas to connect with others where they otherwise may feel isolated. Remote support is provided via digital platforms.

A young person wanting to access the programme needs to be signed up to a Job Coach and be in receipt of Universal Credit. Referrals can come from their job coach, as well as via other organisations or charities working with them. A young person can also self-refer by getting in touch with the team directly. If you would like to get in touch via this route, please email the Youth Support Project Team: new.start@cotswold.gov.uk.