Senior staff from the Department of Work and Pensions paid a visit to East Lancashire last week to see how a service is helping tackle unemployment in people aged 16 to 24.
The DWP Director General for Work and Health Services, Barbara Bradley joined Amy Pond, DWP Service Leader for Cumbria and Lancashire, for a tour of Pendle Yes Hub’s (PYH) base in Nelson town centre.
PYH is an employability and wellbeing service for 16 to 24 year olds in the Pendle area, providing employment, education and training opportunities.
The project also supports the wellbeing of young people, tackling barriers through outreach support and activity sessions.
It is delivered by charities Active Lancashire and PAC on behalf of Pendle Borough Council and is connected to local partners who use its Nelson town centre building as a base to offer support with housing, mental health and run skills sessions.
Barbara and Amy visited to find out more about the service, which has boosted the employability of over 362 young people since it opened in February 2021, with 137 having secured jobs as a result.
During the visit, they toured the PYH’s facilities and met with several young people who have already accessed support alongside pupils from Marsden Heights who are receiving free activity taster sessions at the Hub so that they may continue to access support on leaving school if needed.
Chief executive at Active Lancashire, Adrian Leather, said: “We were honoured to be visited by Barbara and Amy, who were keen to find out how we are helping young people into work. The service that the team carries out is essential.
"Pendle already had one of the highest unemployment and economic inactivity levels in Lancashire and the pandemic has made this worse, leading to lower confidence levels and social ISolation.
“In particular, we spoke to them about how we use physical activity and wellbeing support sessions to positively engage young people.
"The staff are working closely with the work coaches based at the Hub too, which develops a combined package that helps attendees develop a plan to access services and find the job they want.
"The team are also building confidence and mental resilience through increased socialization with other young people.”
Cllr Nadeem Ahmed, leader of Pendle Council, was also in attendance alongside representatives from the Lancashire Skills Hub and local DWP office.
He said: “PYH is helping to tackle youth employment in Pendle in engaging ways and we are pleased that senior colleagues from the DWP have shown an interest in how it is delivered.
"It’s much more than an employment hub – it’s a fun, social space that helps boost the skills, health, wellbeing and mental resilience of our young people in ways that will have a positive impact on their future while creating a strong pool of talented workers for local businesses.”
PYH originally opened with funding from the DWP for its first year, before receiving funding from the Nelson Town Deal to ensure it remains open until at least March 2026.