A WIRRAL charity has secured funding for a new programme which aims to help hard to reach unemployed people into long-term and sustainable employment.

Involve Northwest, which has offices in Birkenhead and Tranmere, has been awarded the £960,000 contract to run the ReachOut programme by Wirral Council with match funding from the European Social Fund.

The programme will initially run for one year with the option to extend for a further two years.

Involve Northwest has run the ReachOut programme in Wirral since 2006,  helping more than 3,700 people into jobs.

The services include employment support, welfare benefits, debt management advice and support, social inclusion initiatives for young people and a mediation service for housing associations, homeless young people and tenants affected by anti-social behaviour.

Justine Molyneux, the organisation's chief executive, said: "Involve Northwest has become an essential lifeline to thousands of hard to reach, vulnerable and unemployed people.

"The ReachOut programme has been a fantastic, innovative way of engaging, with our advisors going out to homes and meeting people in youth and community centres.

"We have knocked on the doors of more than 120,000 homes across the region, in a bid to connect with and help unemployed people that other agencies could not service.

"This informal and friendly approach has enjoyed great success, engaging hundreds of people who have previously felt neglected or threatened by other agencies' more formal approaches.

"Many third and fourth generation unemployed families have been assisted through the programmes, with family members and friends referring each other to Involve Northwest.

"We do this by working with our specialist partner agencies to remove all barriers to work, and guide people through any problems they may have with finding employment.

"We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to continue our work and to get more people into sustainable jobs and careers."

The ReachOut programme will be run in conjunction with a range of partners, including Remploy, Advocacy in Wirral, Inclusive Access, The Social Partnership and Wirral Change.

Cllr Pat Hackett, cabinet member for regeneration and planning strategy, said: "Wirral Council has a track record of working with partners to remove barriers to employment and link local people to the jobs that are available in our area. 

"By working with the ReachOut Partnership we are confident that track record will continue. 

"ReachOut offered the best value in terms of delivering a service in the heart of the communities that need it most and by providing access to over 20 Work Clubs a week in a range of community locations and at a range of times.

"People within our most hard to reach communities will no longer find they are on the outside looking in when it comes to applying for jobs."

Involve Northwest has positively impacted on the lives of more than 8,000 Wirral residents.

The charity has set up 22 Work Clubs per week across the region, giving unemployed people access to job search and CV building support, free internet and help setting up email accounts.

Justine said it is vital to understand that for many people the Internet and online job applications can be a daunting process – through Involve Northwest’s Job Clubs people get the right support to tackle these issues.

“Among our staff are many local people who had also been previously unemployed and we pride ourselves on being able to connect with people on a grass-roots level.

"It is our philosophy to create and offer jobs wherever possible to local people who can use their personal experiences to give something back to the community."

For more information visit www.involvenorthwest.org.uk or call 0151 644 1100.