Future Jobs Fund winners announced

Department for Work and Pensions will pay voluntary organisations, including the RNIB, Salvation Army and Groundwork, to create thousands of jobs

Hundreds of voluntary organisations will receive funding under the first round of the Government's £1bn Future Jobs Fund, set up to create 150,000 jobs.

The Department for Work and Pensions established the fund to reduce unemployment by paying organisations to provide six-month work placements for jobless people.

The DWP announced yesterday that 117 of 182 first round bidders had been successful, including about 20 bids led by voluntary sector organisations. Many more voluntary organisations will be involved as sub-contractors. The successful bidders will now enter into contract negotiations with the department.

They include the RNIB, the Salvation Army, the Pre-school Learning Alliance and Third Sector Consortia Management, the new social enterprise led by Ian Charlesworth, enterprise director at investment fund Futurebuilders England, which has more than 200 third sector organisations in its membership.

A consortium of 100 organisations led by the Wales Council for Voluntary Action, set up to create 500 jobs in such areas as environmental work, health and social care, childcare, and youth and community work, was also successful.

"Charities and voluntary organisations provide an ideal supportive environment for people getting back into the workplace and will offer varied and rewarding opportunities," said Graham Benfield, chief executive of the WCVA.

Environmental charity Groundwork and the social housing umbrella body the National Housing Federation submitted a £40m bid to create 6,000 jobs, such as energy efficiency advisers, recycling workers and gardeners. The DWP has so far agreed to fund 2,400 jobs for the first six-month phase of the fund, beginning in October.

Tony Hawkhead, chief executive of Groundwork, said the jobs would be distributed among 90 local groundwork trusts, housing associations and a range of partners, including British Waterways and sustainable transport charity Sustrans. "This is fantastic news for those neighbourhoods hardest hit by this recession," said Hawkhead.

Ralph Michell, head of policy at chief executives body Acevo, said the DWP's selection of so many third sector delivery partners "sent out a positive message to the voluntary sector".

"It's a pretty strong showing and demonstrates what the sector can do on a big scale," said Michell.

A DWP spokeswoman said the department did not keep figures on the percentage of successful bidders that were from the third sector.

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