On the 23rd February 2023, Opportunity and Change – a specialist employability project led by Framework, and funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund – held a learning and celebration event at the Belfry Hotel in Nottingham, ahead of project’s closure later this month.
Partnership Manager, Shazia Ali led the event, expressing her heartfelt thanks for the hard work and dedication of all those involved in the project. Over 6.5 years, Opportunity and Change has supported 1595 people across D2N2 facing a combination of homelessness, mental ill health, substance misuse, domestic abuse, and offending, to move closer to work. Through employment-related coaching, group-based activities, therapeutic interventions, one-to-one, and specialist support, participants made significant progress in addressing their complex needs, whilst engaging with training, education, volunteering and moving into paid work.
The project’s Performance Manager, Lynda Raven, then gave an overview of key figures highlighting the consistent demand for Opportunity and Change, through the high number of individuals the project has engaged with, and their employment-related achievements, which include:
Evaluation Lead, Jess Smith led a panel discussion with Navigators, reflecting on their very proudest moments, how the pandemic has shaped delivery and support, and essential skills and qualities needed to help those facing SMD to engage with employability.
Three inspiring video case studies were also shared throughout the event, showing some of the positive impacts of Opportunity and Change from the perspectives of those who accessed support. These videos are available to watch through the links lower down this page.
The project management team then shared awards in recognition of the hard work of Navigators; highlighting their good practice and unique contributions to the project. This included an award for Framework Navigator, Dave Price, for his campaign to raise awareness of dyslexia and improve support available for staff and participants. Framework Navigator, Janet Holland also received recognition for her exemplary outreach work with refugee communities living in East Nottinghamshire.
In his closing comments Richard Oskwarek, Operations Manager of Employment and Skills, expressed his sincere gratitude to those who have been involved in the Opportunity and Change partnership over the years, including: Navigators and the project lead team, Local Authority Stakeholder Managers, The Care Act Team, Skills Plus for Change, and specialist partners delivering equine assisted therapy, The Loudspeaker Programme, and counselling services.
 Derbyshire, Derby City, Nottinghamshire, and Nottingham City.
Many thanks to all who have worked with us across the partnership:
Acorn Training, Awaaz, Changing Lives, Improving Lives, Nottingham and Notts Refugee Forum, Nottingham Contemporary (Loudspeaker Programme), Nottingham Women’s Centre, Nottinghamshire Women’s Aid, Nottinghamshire YMCA, RCAN, POW, Riverside Care and Support, SEA, Women’s Work Derbyshire, Derbyshire YMCA, Skills Plus for Change Delivery Team, Stakeholder Managers, Care Act Teams in D2 and N2.