A girl sitting cross legged with a laptop and her thumb up.

Training to break down barriers faced by socially excluded groups

Nearly £200,000 of funding to transform the job prospects of those struggling to find work in Tonbridge and Malling has been confirmed.

The three projects, delivered by Tonbridge and Malling  Borough Council in partnership with neighbouring Kent local authorities and charities, will help socially excluded groups  overcome a range of challenges.

​​​The first scheme is a ‘volunteering and enrichment’ initiative in partnership with Tunbridge Wells Borough Council. Funding of £20,000 has been earmarked to contribute towards projects that will incentivise local employers to provide workplace experience for young people with special educational needs (SEN) and supporting those facing mental health challenges.  

A related ‘life skills’ project, in partnership with Sevenoaks District Council, will provide one-to-one support for people who are struggling to get a job because they lack literacy, numeracy or digital skills. Potential providers of training will be able to bid for a slice of the £100,000 budget to provide help to a range of groups, including the over 50s, people with a disability, care leavers, and victims of domestic abuse. Both this and the volunteering scheme are funded exclusively through Tonbridge and Malling’s allocation from the government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

A third initiative, in partnership with Kent County Council, will tackle digital exclusion by providing lap-tops and training to those who lack the skills and equipment to access employment opportunities. It is anticipated that the £75,000 budget will be sufficient to support around 225 individuals. The scheme will be funded from a proportion of local business rates which the council has been allocated as well as the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Cllr Robin Betts, cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: ‘These schemes will help overcome the barriers to work which all too often lead to long-term unemployment and people feeling excluded from the jobs market and wider society.

‘By equipping them with training, work experience and digital skills we can overcome these obstacles, open doors to employment and help those taking part lead full and productive lives.’     


Published: Tuesday, 16th January 2024