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£1.73m programme has helped hundreds to thrive at work in Yorkshire

Yorkshire-based non-profit organisation Better Connect, which has played an integral role in the running of the Government’s ‘Thriving at Work’ initiative across local communities in the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding regions, has just held a special event to celebrate the success of the three-year programme as it reaches completion. 

The event, which took place on the 12th of June at the popular Principal Hotel in York, saw over 70 people attend from the Better Connect team and their programme delivery partners. 

In attendance were also individuals from North Yorkshire Council, City of York Council, East Riding of Yorkshire Council and HEY Smile Foundation, who helped to fund the programme along with the European Social Fund. 

They came together to recognise the achievements of the past three years and the positive impact the £1.73m programme has had on hundreds of individuals and businesses across the local region. 

Emma Lyons, Programmes Manager at Better Connect shared: “The Thriving at Work programme has been a huge success. We’re delighted to have exceeded all of our engagement targets for the programme and be able to say we have had the opportunity to provide support to both individuals and organisations that has helped them to flourish. 

“Our achievements have been much bigger than those profiled by our funders, and we are able to show significant positive changes in participants’ well-being scores and how they now view the workplace. We’ve also supported a number of local SMEs to take substantial steps to create more inclusive workplaces that allow businesses and all their employees to thrive”.

In total, over 700 individuals engaged with the programme’s 1-2-1 Workplace Support and Diversity training packages. Over 250 people accessed training on neurodiversity awareness, and over 150 people on mental health first aid awareness. 

Results shared at the event highlighted how 98% of people who have completed the Thriving at Work programme, which was free to take part in, have remained in employment. Almost 200 participants have also gained new qualifications, and there are many more individuals expected to gain qualifications in the coming weeks as they complete the programme. 

Emma Lyons added: “The dedication from our delivery partners and the people and business that have engaged with the programme has been absolutely amazing. They are a true testament to what it means to truly thrive at work”. 

Statistics on individuals who accessed support via the programme, which was aimed at helping create more inclusive, diverse and thriving workplaces for all highlighted that 48% declared experiencing mental health challenges, whilst 15% said they had a disability or work-limiting health condition, 10% were single parents, and 14% did not have entry-level Maths or English skills. 

In addition to the individuals taking part directly in the programme, over 40 local SME businesses received inclusive workplace support across the duration of the Thriving at Work programme, which has been running in the region from January 2021 until June 2023. This has seen businesses make positive changes to workplace practices and it is estimated that over 500 employees will benefit from these changes. 

Delivery partners who worked with Better Connect to run the training programme across the region included, Autism Plus, Working for Health, York Mind, Craven College, St Nick’s York, Futureworks, Humankind Charity, North Yorkshire Sport, Community Works and North Yorkshire County Council Public Health.

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About Better Connect Better Connect is a Knaresborough-based non-profit organisation which was founded in 2007. Their mission is to create a Yorkshire where every person in the region is empowered to thrive in life and work.  The organisation is proud to have been involved in projects that have benefited millions of people over the years, from working with small local groups right up to large national charities – to enable people and communities to achieve their ambitions.   Better Connect has established a track record for leading successful partnership projects, working with a range of Yorkshire-based partners, across a range of sectors. They have and are helping to facilitate support on a wide range of projects in the region, including helping to deliver national government projects in Yorkshire including the Kickstart scheme, Thriving at Work and the Action Towards Inclusion project – which is part of the national programme, Building Better Opportunities, funded by the European Social Fund and the largest community funder in the UK, the National Lottery Community Fund. 

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