Face Forward youth project closes as funding runs out

Ansbury Guidance office in Poole Image copyright Google
Image caption The project is run by Ansbury Guidance, which has its head office in Poole

A project to help unemployed young people in Dorset is to close after its EU and lottery funding ran out.

Face Forward, which has five bases across the county, has supported more than 700 people not in education or work since it launched in April 2017.

The project, funded by the National Lottery and European Social Fund, will close at the end of March.

Chief executive Nicola Newman said it was "devastating" and a "waste" of the investment in its infrastructure.

The project, run by Ansbury Guidance, employs 20 people who work out of bases in Weymouth, Dorchester, Blandford, Poole and Boscombe.

Additional staff are employed by partners Dorset Youth Association and training organisation SWRAC.

Ms Newman said: "The funding landscape has been muddied by Brexit delays, the national election and local council change.

"The partnership now needs enough funds for 12 to 18 months to maintain a targeted service whilst future local and national plans become clearer.

"To end now is to waste all the investment in the project infrastructure that cannot be got back once gone, on top of the obvious lack of support for the hundreds of young people who need it most."

Face Forward, which has been receiving between 40 and 50 referrals every month, is now closed to new starters and will focus on helping its existing 201 clients find positive outcomes before the project ends.

Dorset Council's corporate director for education, Mark Blackman, said authority representatives had met with Ansbury "to discuss the ongoing work with young people who would be eligible to be supported by this project".

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