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Report showcases successful Wirral veterans employment project

A report published on Monday, 31 October 2022 has praised a ground breaking programme in Wirral that has given GPs and mental health teams the opportunity to prescribe career coaching for ex-Forces patients.

The specialist service, delivered by employment consultants embedded within Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CWP), was developed by The Poppy Factory charity, in partnership with CWP. It is based at the Stein Centre in Wirral and aims to support veterans with physical and mental health conditions to find work.

As a Veteran Aware Trust, the programme forms a vital part of CWP's commitment to help improve the lives of everyone in our communities. Employment is vital to people's feeling of social inclusion and the work with The Poppy Factory is an example of this principle in action.

For The Poppy Factory, the project forms part of their programme to support veterans to overcome barriers to employment that can affect some them after they leave the Armed Forces and transition into civilian life.

CWP chief executive, Tim Welch, said:- "The experience of NHS workers is very different to that of those who have served in the Armed Forces. To have an employment consultant from The Poppy Factory embedded within 1 of our adult mental health teams in Wirral has created a deeper understanding of the veteran experience and has been an invaluable opportunity to share learning more widely across CWP. Not only do we have a better understanding of the challenges veterans face when seeking employment, colleagues also have greater consideration for the difficulties our veterans face overall."

According to the independent report by the Institute of Mental Health at the University of Nottingham, this proved vital to the success of the project. The Poppy Factory's employment consultant was involved in clinical meetings about patients (with patient consent), providing key information and becoming trusted advisors and colleagues.

Veterans reported a boost to their overall mental wellbeing. 1 commented:- "Just having someone to talk to; someone who understood my situation and didn't judge; helped a lot."

Deirdre Mills, Chief Executive of The Poppy Factory, said:- "We are very pleased with the effect this pilot has had in helping us reach more of the ex-Forces community. There has been positive feedback from the clinicians, who recognise the clear benefits and impact of our partnership. Best of all, there has been very positive feedback from the veterans themselves. In the 1st year of the pilot we were able to support over 40 veterans in Wirral to find work, which has been hugely gratifying to see, especially as the pilot demonstrated:- 'a substantial improvement in individuals wellbeing' including a:- 'boost to their overall mental wellbeing as a result of their time spent with The Poppy Factory, with many veterans feeling more confident in themselves after attending the service. From the feedback received, it is clear this has been a highly effective partnership with the veterans involved feeling like they were supported and in a safe space. They could develop trusting relationships built on a foundation of specialist knowledge both within mental health and the veteran experience, which has naturally led to better communication and joined-up working to the benefit of veterans. We are immensely proud of our involvement in the project, and look forward to building on this work for the future."

More than 160 businesses benefit from Mayor's £3.5m support for digital, creative and tech sector

LIVERPOOL City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram met leaders from 10 of the City Region's most innovative digital, creative and tech companies, supported by his £3.5 million Gather programme.

Meeting at the Baltic Triangle headquarters of bespoke wall and floor surface designer and manufacturer Milexa Group, the Mayor heard how Gather had supported more than 160 businesses since its launch in September 2019, creating and safeguarding more than 350 jobs.

Gather is 1 part of the Mayor's £75 million Business Growth Package, launched in September 2019. At the time it was the biggest package of business support the City Region had made in more than 20 years.

Delivered by Liverpool based leadership and growth consultancy Form on behalf of the Combined Authority, Gather has worked with businesses throughout the Pandemic, creating a community for digital, creative and tech leaders to get advice and grow their business in the Liverpool City Region.

Ambitious tech enabled companies have been able to access a wide range of support through Gather, ranging from 6 week online programmes to 6 months of bespoke consultancy support to 1 to 1 advice and support from Growth Consultants on challenges and opportunities.

These types of tech enabled companies play a key role in contributing to Mayor Rotheram's ambition to invest 5% of Regional GVA on Research and Development (R&D) by 2030; nearly double the Government's national target.

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:- "Businesses are the backbone of our economy and, ultimately, their success will have a massive part to play in shaping the future of our area. We're incredibly fortunate to play host to a thriving business community, but I want to help as many of them as possible to continue to grow and expand. I launched Gather with £3.5m to help make that happen. But I want the support we're offering to be felt positively throughout our Region. That starts by creating quality, secure, and well paid jobs for local people. We need to be attracting and retaining the very best talent here in the Liverpool City Region. By helping local businesses to expand and giving them the platform to take their company to the next level, we're making sure that our economy is in the strongest possible position to take advantage of all the opportunities that come our way in an increasingly digital world. It was fantastic to meet with some of the businesses that have benefited and hear how our investment has helped them."

Councillor Janette Williamson, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Portfolio Holder for Inclusive Economy and the 3rd Sector, said:- "Gather has been such a success because it not only works to provide tailored support to these innovative businesses but has also created a community of business leaders who understand each other's challenges and can provide mutual support and resilience. Gather has supported scores of fantastic businesses, creating or safeguarding hundreds of jobs and has helped give a real boost to our local economy."

Janice Mears, Head of Business Growth at Growth Platform, Liverpool City Region Growth Company said:- "Gather has been an incredible success for the digital, creative and technology sector in the Liverpool City Region. By connecting local business leaders with each other alongside world class bespoke mentoring and leadership coaching with practical strategies and tools, Gather has enabled local businesses to develop resilience, strengthen strategies and grow. This success cannot only be seen with the number of jobs that have been created and safeguarded but also by the fantastic feedback from the businesses involved."

Sarah Goulden, Gather Programme Manager, said:- "Gather has supported over 160 businesses in the Liverpool City Region's digital, creative and tech sector. From freelancers sitting down with a Growth Consultant to tackle their growth challenges, through to Beyond our latest support programme bringing 6 months of tailored, bespoke consultancy support to the Region's most ambitious businesses helping them tackle their biggest challenges and opportunities. It's fantastic to see the sector growing, connecting and evolving with the investment and support of the Combined Authority."

Whilst Gather focuses on tech enabled businesses, it is just 1 part of a broad range of support services available to businesses from other sectors and at different stages of development across the Liverpool City Region, funded by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and delivered by Growth Platform.

Growth Platform was established jointly by the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership and the Combined Authority to deliver growth across the City Region; through business support, attracting investment and developing talent to create a fairer, greener and more inclusive economy for all who live and work in the Region.

Also taking part in the roundtable event were:-

     Alan Thompson, MD and Founder, Hi-impact Consultancy.

     Anna Heyes, CEO, Active Profile.

     Jen Fenner, MD, DefProc Engineering.

     Jono Jones, CTO, ORCHA

     Justyn Clark, CTO, Yozu.

     Paalan Sood, Owner, Sood.

     Paul Corcoran, CEO, Agent.

     Raina Heverin, Co-founder and Strategy Director, Supply Well.

     Richard Wilde, MD and Founder, Milexa Group.

     Steve Harris, MD, Redwigwam.

     Katie Bolas, Strategy Director.

     Matt Johnson, Managing Director.

     Sarah Goulden, Programme Manager.

     Ben Heywood, Senior Investment Manager, LCRCA.

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