Mission Statement: We aim to encourage and empower people to build better lives within the communities where they live.


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The Building Better Opportunities programme is funded by National Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund (ESF) who are co-investing in local projects tackling the root causes of worklessness, promoting social inclusion and driving local jobs and growth.

Community Matters is one of four projects within this programme across the Black Country and will help people across Walsall, Wolverhampton, Dudley and Sandwell move into or closer to employment by developing their skills and confidence.

Community Matters is managed by the Heart of England Community Foundation in partnership with Just Straight Talk and various other partners across the Black Country.

Just Straight Talk will be delivering the following specific activities with the aim’s of:

  • Supporting, mentoring, advocating, empowering, inspiring, encouraging and supporting people
  • Seeking options for people to increase their life chances
  • Confidence building, increasing social skills, increasing motivation, introduction to leisure, hobbies and interests around daytime, evenings and weekends
  • Supporting to raise self-esteem, drawing on strengths, identifying skills and utilising local options to continue development and growth
  • Referral to short courses (Hooks) for example “get cooking” programmes, Intro to IT, Gardening etc to slowly introduce ways of regular routine and positive steps
  • Completing all kinds of forms for housing, benefits, legal, finances etc
  • Transporting and supporting to meetings, appointments, interviews etc
  • Locating emergency accommodation (hostels)
  • Helping to generate opportunities and move towards employment, training and education

For more information about the Community Matters Programme please contact Kate Beale at JST.

For more information about the Community Matters Programme please email communitymatters@heartofenglandcf.co.uk or visit www.heartofenglandcf.co.uk

                          Community Matters  is funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund                                                                                                            

Building Better Opportunities Bridges

JST provides advice and help to unemployed and economically inactive people who are looking for employment, training opportunities,education, improved housing and health.

We have  commenced an exciting new opportunity Building Better Opportunities –Bridges which started in September 2016  is funded through the National Lottery Community  Fund and the European Union through the European Social Fund. This involves working with partners across Dudley & Sandwell in the delivery of outreach services to people who are aged 25 plus and who are furthest away from the labour market.

Bridges is also funded by the big lottery and the European union through the European Social Fund. This project will work with people experiencing social exclusion and unemployed or economically inactive residents. It will support these people to address barriers and move closer to and into employment. It will focus on providing a targeted community approach responsive to the needs of local people, in order to improve the social inclusion of the most disadvantaged groups.

The aim of both projects will be to engage with, encourage, mentor and challenge to improve the employability of those with multiple and complex needs. We will assist these clients by adopting an holistic approach,  hand-holding through the steps to identify, secure and maintain appropriate levels of support to enable them to address barriers they have which prevent them from moving forward. For example if they have problems with debt or their finances we can arrange appropriate support and help them set up payment plans for utilities.

Over the course of the project we aim to support over 300 people with multiple and complex needs who are either long term unemployed or economically inactive and will deliver these services from a range of outreach locations across the black country on both BBO strands.

Bridges is funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund

If you or someone you know may benefit from this support please contact Kate Beale on 01902 256 744 to make a referral.