ORGANISATIONS in Hampshire are set to benefit from a community grant worth £695,000 to help people into employment.

The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation (HIWCF) has made the grant through the Solent Supporting Employment (SSE) Programme.

The money has been awarded to 11 organisations across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to boost employment projects in the south.

The programme was created by the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, with funding from the European Social Fund (ESF), HIWCF donors, Hampshire County Council, and Southampton City Council and Portsmouth City Council.

It is hoped the support will reach those who work with individuals with complex barriers to employment, helping them to move closer or into employment, particularly in deprived areas.

This includes BAME communities, people with disabilities, long-term unemployed and those economically inactive.

Romsey Community School (RCS) will be using its grant to help those in the Ringwood and Hythe area of the New Forest to get back into work.

Community Development Manager at RCS Wendy Masterson said: “RCS Ltd have a long history of working with those who find it hard to gain work or training opportunities. We are delighted to have received funding.

"It will change people's lives within the New Forest Area giving them one to one support and encouragement to participate and believe that anything is possible.”

Chief Executive of HIWCF Grant Cornwell MBE said: “We are delighted to be working with the European Social Fund, together with our local authorities in Hampshire, providing this vital opportunity to help and encourage local people to find their way into work.

"Our communities have been massively impacted by Covid-19 this year and this funding will increase the prospects of vulnerable people in our region making a lasting difference to their lives."

The second round of funding will be worth £791,000 and will open in 2021.