We at Make it Happen are proud to announce that we have been successful in securing funding from the European Social Fund, enabling us to expand our team and deliver an employability programme, The Offering Opportunities Project, furthering our ability to support and develop individuals in our wonderful community.
The European Social Fund (ESF) is a source of funding from the European Union and is used to support employment, as well as promoting economic and social cohesion in communities across Europe. The aim of ESF is to support the creation of jobs, which it does by co-funding projects that improve the levels of employment, skills, the quality of jobs, and the inclusiveness of the labour market. This funding has provided us with a fantastic opportunity to deliver our Offering Opportunities Project, using an asset-based approach and the unique business model of Make It Happen, we will utilise the existing potential within our community and nurture the development of individuals and our community as a whole.
The Offering Opportunities Project is for individuals to gain experience in the retail sector and develop their personal, social and professional skills, as well as building confidence and self-esteem. Participants will volunteer in our retail space, learning how it works and gaining valuable customer service experience. Alongside their retail work they will engage in a series of personal and social development sessions, focusing on building core life skills, as well as raising aspirations, building confidence, resilience, assertiveness and other qualities that will enable them to lead independent and fulfilling lives. The aim of the programme is to progress the participants into work, education, training, or seek opportunities for further development for themselves and their community, and build a network based on the principles of ‘give and gain’.
We at Make it Happen believe in inclusivity, therefore programme is open-ended, rather than limited to a set number of weeks per person, as often volunteers have vastly different skills, knowledge and experience prior to engaging and require different amounts of learning and teaching, adapting to the needs of each individual. Dianne, one of the employed Opportunity Ambassadors explained what her role is and what she hopes the programme will achieve.
“My role is to provide training and support in their retail placements, showing how the shop operates and developing their knowledge and skills in customer service. I will guide them through their daily tasks and be a source of support, each volunteer has their individual needs and it is important to allow them to learn at their own pace. We hope that the participants will gain key life skills and independence, allowing them to move forward into training or employment. This opportunity means a lot to me, using my previous experience in the retail sector to train the volunteers is a great way for me to develop upon my own confidence.”
Steph, another Opportunity Ambassador working alongside Dianne, explained her passion for the programme and Make it Happen,
“I am extremely passionate about helping people and taking them on a journey of self-improvement and realising their own self-worth, I am very honoured to be a part of this programme and Make it Happen as a whole. The programme is flexible and can be adapted to individual needs, giving them a supportive environment for them to grow and achieve success. I believe I will grow a lot personally from this opportunity and I am excited to grow alongside the success of Make it Happen”
Jack, a participant on The Offering Opportunities Project, discussed how excited he is to take part and what he hopes to achieve,
“I am looking forward to getting stuck in and learning new things, I really want to grow in confidence and I believe the programme will help me achieve this by taking me outside my comfort zone and supporting when me I need help”
We would like to say a massive thank you to all our supporters and those that contribute to the success of Make it Happen, without you this would not have been possible. Our community is central to the purpose of Make it Happen and we could not be happier that we are able to expand and enhance the support we provide to it. We believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to fulfil their potential, we are so grateful that we are able to help them Make it Happen!