£2m bid to get jobless to do it for themselves
A £2million bid has been sent to government to set up a job creation scheme with a difference in a recession-hit part of Luton.
The Organisation Workshop (OW) in Marsh Farm would involve 80 unemployed people setting up in up to 11 new enterprises in the estate.
The bid for Regional Growth Funding (RGF) from the Department of Business Innovation and Skills is part of a £12million national bid, with Marsh Farm used as a test bed for the project that could be rolled out across the country as the National Organisation Workshop (NOW).
Glenn Jenkins, of Marsh Farm Outreach, believes the case for cash is strong. A decision should be made by October, he said.
He added: “We have made a moral, financial and social case for the project and I am positive about the outcome. We are hoping there will be negotiations with officials.
“The government, at a ministerial level, has already given the scheme its blessing.”
MFO has even been working behind the scenes to secure what he calls “private sector willingness” and even contract work for the new enterprises when they get up and running.
The kick-start funding would be for businesses already identified by local economic research as needed in Marsh Farm.
Local people already spend on services like car mechanics and a cafe and the idea is to keep the money in Marsh Farm, thereby regenerating it.
Among other ideas for businesses are a city farm, a building company, sales and marketing and a home and office cleaning company. A mobile go-karting firm and a social and community association are also on the cards.
Mr Jenkins said the scheme already has the support of business mentors who would be willing to help the enterprising unemployed up and running in the new companies.
The RGF bid document admits that “It is highly likely that this application will not be able to compete, on cold, hard number crunching terms, with other bids submitted by big corporations who can put up millions of pounds to match or exceed the public money.
“But we are 100 per cent confident that in the event of successful delivery, there is no other bid that could match the massive positive benefits to wider society that would arise from finding a way of enabling self-generation of jobs and enterprise by people living in poorer areas throughout the country.”
The organisers believe once the pilot OW in Marsh Farm has proven the model in a UK environment, there are five other host organisations who are ready and keen to facilitate OW’s in their own areas of Bradford, Liverpool, Nottingham, Manchester and Bristol.
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Weather for Luton
Tuesday 21 May 2013
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