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Posted on 7 June 2023

Acorn secures £140,000 funding boost to support volunteers with paid employment opportunities.

Acorn have been awarded £140,708 from the National Lottery Community Fund for the ‘Empowering Client’s’ project. The project will provide a pathway to volunteers, including former users of the service, to take on part time roles at Acorn.

Set to start at the beginning of July, the three-year project will accommodate 5 workers per year, with a total of 15 roles being created throughout Greater Manchester and the North-West.

The project comes at a time of need with rising costs and a lack of part-time employment routes. Volunteers will have the opportunity to gain qualifications, develop their professional skills & work experience.  The aim is for the project to help bridge the gap to full-time employment and allow volunteers to develop a fulfilling career for themselves.

The National Lottery ‘Reaching Communities’ fund has a two-stage application process, with only 20% of applications making it through to the second stage process. Acorn’s application was described as a ‘unique application’ by the funding panel.

With previous success in supporting clients into paid roles, Acorn is aiming further to retain talented people with opportunities such as Groupwork Facilitator, Administrator and Recovery Caretaker roles now becoming available to volunteers.

The roles will include workers drawing on their community links to develop their skills and create further employment opportunities.  Acorn aims to utilise the part time roles as a way of improving the service by inspiring current service users and showing the career pathway plus integrating more workers with lived experience.

Louise Whitworth, Lead Volunteer Coordinator at Acorn; ‘We’re delighted to be awarded funding for this project.  This will have a positive impact on our volunteers, who can look forward to progressing into part-time paid employment with us.

Whilst we all try to navigate our way through this ‘cost of living’ crisis, we hope that this funding will help alleviate some of the struggles our volunteers have experienced, by providing them with much needed skills and experience. We’re truly grateful to the fund who help organisations and communities like ours continue to thrive.’

Sarah Tattersall, Area Operational Manager – South; ‘We are thrilled that we have been successful with our proposal ‘Empowering Clients’. Acorn volunteers play a huge part in making our services successful and it’s fantastic that we will now be able to offer them more employment opportunities.

The impact of this project will be felt wider than the people that are successful in securing the roles, it will also enhance the services we deliver and the wider communities, by helping more people into employment.’

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