Written evidence submitted by the Clanrye Group (INI0008)
Economic, Social and Political Impact of the Loss of ESF Funded Programmes
Clanrye Group operate two ESF Projects that addresses skills gaps, barriers to engagement and increases employment opportunities for people with few or no qualifications:
- Positive Directions – employability project specifically for people with a disability to develop skills, achieve qualifications and avail of employability support with the aim of progressing to employment, further education, or other training.
- Family Foundations – Community Family Support Programme providing support to people who are not in employment, education or training using a person-centred approach to address the holistic needs of the individual, to help remove barriers whilst providing support to become more socially included and enhance their employability.
Economics and the Impacts of Loss
The above 2 ESF Projects cumulatively:
- Employ a total of 50 Staff (full and part-time - the equivalent of 33 full-time staff) with a gross pay of £877k per annum. This generates approximately £197k in taxes/national insurance.
- Average gross wage is £26k which is below the Northern Ireland average, and this creates a higher propensity to consume meaning the multiplier effect could be considered to be at least 3.
- Payroll creates economic activity of over £2.5m per annum.
- Creates additional expenditure, £200k per annum of expenses and overheads in the local economy in addition to the payroll spend.
The table below provides a breakdown of staffing and payroll costs of running Clanrye Group’s two ESF projects. The figures are taken from the current project budget (2021/22).
FT Equivalent Posts
Employer Total Pay Costs
Employer NIC & Pensions
Approximate Gross pay
Staff Gross (average)
Positive Directions (Project for people with a disability) Call 3 - Need, Impact and Outcomes:
- The LMR 2021 reports that 21% of working age in NI has a disability and that long term sickness/disability were the most common reasons for economic inactivity in the UK and NI.
- This project offers a unique model of delivery specifically for people with a disability, providing a ‘roll on roll off’ approach with tutor-led individual paced delivery. This is a unique model to this region. 100% of participants surveyed reported this as the primary factor enabling them to engage, progress and achieve through a person centred and flexible provision not available through mainstream services.
- 330 participants with a disability or long term health condition have been supported.
- Retention on the project averages at 92% (despite covid impact) due to flexibility of provision, strong pastoral care and interventions in place to ensure barriers are removed enabling participants to engage, remain and progress.
- 72% percentage on joining the project presented with no or low educational attainment.
- 259 qualifications have been achieved – (78% of all participants) LMR reports that more than double the proportion (28.8%) of disabled persons have no qualifications compared to non-disabled persons (13.9%). 100% of participants completing the project achieved one or more accredited qualifications.
- Outstanding quality of provision achieved in ETI inspection, and recognition from BCS, External Quality Assurer, that Clanrye Group had one of the highest exam achievement rates per capita of students in Northern Ireland; hence improving employment, Further Education and Training opportunities.
- 142 participants progressed to further education and training (53% of participants).
- According to LMR 2021 people without a disability were more than twice as likely to be in employment (78%) than those with a disability (36%).
- 76 participants, through attending Positive Directions, have gained employment (28% of Participants).
- Year April 2021 to date, employment target of 18 has been exceeded with 32 participants with a disability securing employment ie 178% against ESF target.
- 81% of participants completing the programme have achieved a positive outcome.
- 321 participants reported improved measurable soft skills including those currently attending. 100% of completers reported improved soft outcomes.
- 294 Participants received assistance with the development of skills to find work.
Family Foundations (Community Family Support Programme) Call 3 - Need, Impact and Outcomes:
- The project is aimed at supporting people with multiple barriers to the labour market and at risk of social exclusion and living in poverty.
- Participants present with multiple issues: some examples - addictions, criminal records, mental health and wellbeing issues, isolation and social exclusion, home and personal problems, have little to no educational attainment, skills or work experience and find it difficult to engage, remain and progress in mainstream services.
- The project offers a bespoke service which addresses the holistic needs of individuals and includes one-to-one support, training and qualifications, employability support and signposting/referral to specialist agencies where appropriate and flexibility to allow participants to engage, remain on the project, make progress and succeed.
- 811 people benefited from the support provided by Clanrye Group’s Family Foundations project throughout the districts of Newry, Mourne and Down and Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon.
- The trend over the course of the 4 years from April 2018 has shown a shift from a programme predominantly focused on social and family support to one that provides tremendous socio-economic value to the local economy of the regions mentioned above through a holistic approach to supporting participants aged 16-65 who were not in employment or education/training. Impact:
- 71% of participants enrolled reported increased social inclusion.
- 58% improved family relations
- 61% availed of specialised support and reported improved confidence about their future
- 66% achieved a qualification which will help them reach their goals of progressing to FE/other training/employment.
- 28% secured employment ie 222 participants.
- 26% progression to FE/Training ie 215 participants.
- 54% of total participants engaging on the project (437) gained employment or progressed into education or training. This figure increased from 28% in year 1 to 73% in year 4 (more than doubling the ESF target) whilst maintaining similar figures surrounding social support. This emphasises the relevance and importance of the Family Foundations programme in that the participants supported by this programme present with a variety of personal issues and barriers and the support provided by Clanrye Group supports them in overcoming these obstacles to progressing into employment or the next stage of their education and training.
- The Family Foundations project has exceeded ESF targets ie
- Target for securing employment - 160, actual number of participants securing employment 222 (to date)
- Targets for progression to FE/Training- 168 , Actual to date 215.
- Figures show that 60% of participants were able to better address their personal barriers by gaining access to specialist support services through intervention from the Family Foundations team.
- While it is not always the personal goal of participants to progress to employment or education/training, the benefit of a programme like Family Foundations is demonstrated in the fact that 70% of participants claimed they felt more socially included and while 58% improved their family relations this number multiplies when considering the number of family members of each participant that feel the benefits of this improvement.
- The qualification entry profile for participants on Family Foundations is historically low with 46% of participants in Year 1 entering the programme with no qualifications or primary / lower secondary being their highest level of educational attainment. With the holistic support provided by the Family Foundations team 66% of participants over the 4 years were able to achieve a Level 1 qualification and/or an online non-accredited course (20% and 46% respectively).
Impact of the Loss of these Programmes on the Communities we Serve – BSP Imperatives
- The failure to provide match funding of circa 500k will have a significant impact on the communities of Newry Mourne and Down and Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon Council areas in the short term. It will hit the communities at most disadvantage, particularly those communities which have suffered most as a result of the pandemic.
- It sends a message to these communities that “they don’t matter” and for an exceedingly small sum of money the impacts achieved have had significant positive impacts on those communities both socially and economically.
- At a time of skills shortages and labour market shortages the failure to provide small sums of money will lose to the economy 150 + jobs per year creating over 2 million pounds pa to the economy and using the multiplier effect up to 6 million pounds loss pa to our towns and villages.
- Will increase health inequalities and mental health which could cost society much much more in the provision of health services.
- Will increase political tensions at a time of fracture and discord (Brexit and NI protocol) and lead to a rise in the influence of paramilitaries amongst the target group.
In the short to medium term Whitehall departments need to engage with organisations at the coalface of our communities in NI. Organisations that keep our communities from fracture. Organisations that know how best to move our communities forward. Organisations that want people from our communities to positively contribute to the communities they live in and contribute to economic and social prosperity in a meaningful and fulsome way by giving them the tools and expertise to self-help.
We need Government to listen, to plan, to co-design and to create life changing and transformative programmes that have the ambition, foresight, nuances and imagination needed to change people’s mindsets and empower self-help, innovation and a ‘can do’ attitude.
We would like to talk to you about how we can help to do just that.