Building Better Opportunities

Building Better Opportunities (BBO) Projects

BBO3 – Working Together for Work

In Surrey the Building Better Opportunities Working Together Project (BBO3)  is delivered by Surrey Lifelong Learning Partnership from Redhill, and supports families with young children under the age of eighteen with complex barriers to employment, training and learning.  This project is open to eligible families living across East Surrey, including Caterham, Dorking, Epsom and Ewell, Reigate & Banstead.

The project aims to provide families with the necessary support to help with transitioning into learning or employment. We provide services and support that includes creating awareness of local services and provisions, workshops on confidence building, resilience and well-being as well as on a wide range of employability related topics, for example, flexible job searching, interview skills and cv presentation.

We are able to deliver our ‘wrap-around’ services by working in collaboration and partnership with local jobcentreplus as well as a number of statutory and non statutory organisations, charity organisations, colleges and employers. We believe in partnership working to help with the objectives of the project which is ensuring that families and young people are not isolated or left behind from accessing opportunities within society.

Case Study 
A woman called ‘C’  joined the Building Better Opportunity (BBO3) project in January 2017. Prior to being a participant on the BBO project, she had been unemployed for over one year and was suffering from low self-esteem, anxiety and depression. She had low to medium computer skills with Level 1 literacy skills.
‘C’ has a teenage daughter who lives with her and was concerned about her daughter’s welfare and well-being. With the help of the BBO3 project officer, she gradually began to develop and gain confidence. She was supported with activities that included her attending the weekly job club in Redhill and one to one interventions.
In addition to getting help with updating her CV, she was able to meet and make new friends and share experiences with other participants in similar situations. With help provided through the project, she went on to gain an ECDL Level 1 computer skills qualification and has since also completed her ESOL course. She was also encouraged to continue volunteering at her local volunteer centre in Oxted to help with supporting her in developing her work skills and confidence.
After getting help with completing her application form for a job posted online, ‘C’ subsequently was invited for an interview for a customer-facing role working with one of the world’s largest fast food chains. The interview and was successful and she was offered a job as a Team Member with McDonald’s, working weekly shifts and hours that suits her willingness to have time to care for her daughter.
‘C’ continues to participate in the project as this is the first paid job she has had in two years. She has also since completed an Email Management and MS Word course. Furthermore, she continues to support and work in her local community as a volunteer at her local volunteer centre in Oxted, Surrey.

BBO8 – Local Learning Perspectives

The Building Better Opportunities Project (BBO8) aims to increase social inclusion by supporting disadvantaged individuals to move closer towards or into employment. The project aims to increase engagement into informal and community learning, assisting participants to gain access to qualifications, training and employment.

Case Study A Mother of three boys, aged 14, 10 and 9 years old who came to the UK from Bangladesh.
“Before I felt lonely, unhappy, I had no friends, I didn’t know anyone to speak to, I couldn’t share my problems, I couldn’t go anywhere I couldn’t go on the bus. I could not drive. I did not understand what people said to me.
The BBO project leader helped me grow my confidence; she told me about courses like the computer course I did. She got me started on bag making and I made lots of bags. I started making things at home, sewing; I have set up a website and I am now selling some things through my website.
Now I properly understand what people say to me. Lots of things have improved. She helped me solve some problems.
She helped me make my CV and told me about going to speak to Teachers so I could get a volunteer role in a school. I didn’t know about that. I know lots of people now; I made friends at the bag making. I met people on courses….
My husband also came to trust her so he said I can go where she says to go – he has changed too.
They always helped and encouraged me. They never said “you can’t” they said “you can do this.” No one said that to me before. Now I think this about me – I think “I can” and now my husband thinks this about me too. He says “OK you can do this” and my children help me. The people on the project trusted me and believed in me.
“It has been a struggle. It has been really hard as I have come from another country where all is different. But I’m really happy now as I don’t just sit at home now. I am really thankful to the National Lottery and European Social Fund.

BBO Alliance
The Alliance Programme is for people who are experiencing multiple barriers that are preventing them from moving closer to the workplace. The programme provides a wrap around support service, enabling participants to plan their future and access local services.

BBO Alliance Case Study
A gentleman in his 50’s was referred via Guildford jobcentre. ‘M’ had not worked for four years, lived on his own, divorced from his wife and had a teenage son who lived with his mother. In addition, he had an elderly mother whom he helped with household tasks, such shopping and gardening.

‘M’ had little to no IT skills and from the first session, it became apparent that he would need substantial help as most of his job search would need to be conducted online, including the use of Universal Jobmatch, other online search facilities as well as help with managing emails. He also seemed to lack confidence with writing, preferring to have assistance with completing his job search booklet for him.

The gentleman quickly established a routine of weekly meetings with the BBO Alliance Advisor at a local library, where there was ample space to use the laptop, printer and scanner when required.
During the course of working with ‘M’, concerns grew for his overall health and well being. He appeared to be very overweight, and when gently probed on this subject, he admitted to being a diabetic, with high blood pressure, and a predilection for drinking alcohol. He provided assurance however, that he walked at least a mile every day, and tended to his allotment. Not entirely reassured by these assertions, it was suggested that he might join in with the Health Walk, which takes place in Godalming, coincidentally on the very morning that our meetings occurred. It was hoped that he would join the walk and then attend an appointment for job searching. However, it was important to first make sure that his GP pronounced him fit enough to embark on this walks programme.
The gentleman was also receiving support from his Work Coach at JCP, who completed a Better Off Calculation and also referred him to see the Work Psychologist. These finding and results were never shared with the BBO Alliance Advisor however it is thought that the combination of interventions received from partner organisations subsequently resulted in the turn of events, resulting in his employment.

‘M’ maintained good attendance at appointments and came in one week saying he had spoken to one of his mother’s neighbours who had a gardening and landscaping company. They had vacancies and he had been advised to email his CV. Unfortunately, ‘M’ had written the details down incorrectly but with a quick internet search, the correct details were found. Support was provided with writing a covering letter, checking over the CV and emailing them both to the company.
The gentleman then did not attend another appointment, he had secured an interview which then transpired into a job. In the months that followed, contact was maintained, he was really enjoying the work.

The gentleman was most grateful for the support and felt that if the Alliance Advisor not been there to step in and help with the IT element of job search, he would not have been able to attain this new position.