Charities need £5m to access Future Jobs Fund, says Acevo

Sector needs cash help to benefit from DWP £1bn fund to help young unemployed

The Government should set up a £5m fund to help voluntary sector organisations benefit from the Department for Work and Pensions £1bn Future Jobs Fund, an Acevo-commissioned report has claimed.

The report, written by Will Hutton, executive vice-chair of research consultancy the Work Foundation and published today, says the cash is needed to help charities create high-quality employment opportunities for the young unemployed.

The paper, called Unemployment and the Role of the Third Sector, also says the DWP fund, set up to create 150,000 jobs for long-term unemployed people aged between 18 and 24 and open to bids from not-for-profit groups, is seen by some as "an ad hoc initiative, with limited resources, trying to apply sticking plaster to a wound that demands more radical treatment".

It says: "If the third sector gets too involved, then there is a risk that dependence will grow on this source of government funding at a time when other budgets are being cut."

It calls for the fund to offer greater flexibility to small voluntary groups, allowing them to create jobs in the long term instead of restricting funding to the first six months of employment.

The report also criticises the level of funding provided, claiming the £6,500 support per job is too little if employers are expected to make a substantial investment in training their new staff.

But it urges charities not to be deterred from bidding for the fund, saying that "if the third sector views the Future Jobs Fund as an opportunity rather than a threat or a short-term make-work scheme, the results for the sector and the unemployed are likely to be more satisfactory".

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