A radical new approach has been launched to change the lives of people living in the five most deprived wards of Ellesmere Port.
Backed by almost £400,000 of funding, the Building Futures initiative by the borough council will seek to aid those living in relative poverty.
It covers the town’s Rossmore, Ellesmere Port Town, Netherpool, St Paul’s and Grange wards.
The challenge of improving residents’ health and wealth will see what is said to be a ‘new and unique way of working’ by giving ‘power to the people’.
The multi-agency programme involving the council will aim to help residents prosper by providing services which are relevant to those who use them.
A steering group will achieve this by working in collaboration with residents and placing them at the heart of the decision making process.
The council says Building Futures offers people the chance to share power with local decision makers so their needs are listened to and they have influence over how services are designed and delivered.
Projects already under way include a free mental health counselling service run by Healthbox CIC, based in the town, which enables swift referral and support.
Also in progress is the development of career pathways for young people, run by a collaboration between secondary schools, Cheshire College South and West and employers, which reflect actual, available jobs in Ellesmere Port.
A winter fuel bank is giving residents access to emergency help through Citizens Advice Cheshire West while an employment enabler fund helps job seekers and those wanting to progress in work pay for necessities such as clothing for interviews, travel expenses and training costs.
There is also support through the council’s help team for households to maximise their income when they are struggling with paying bills.
Ellesmere Port Sutton ward councillor Nicole Meardon (Lab). the borough’s cabinet member for children and young people and mayor of Ellesmere Port, said: “Building Futures focuses on the five wards in Ellesmere Port town where the deprivation scores demonstrate that residents are experiencing significant long term struggles that are associated with poverty and inequality.
“The programme aims to achieve a population level decrease in inequalities. There is a need for an effective system, process and mindset shift across multiple areas.
“It is a radical move away from delivering only traditional services to a new methodology which shapes services that engage with live problems and help to resolve real people’s situations.”
The steering group consists of bodies including Cheshire West and Chester Council, Cheshire College South and West, Healthbox CIC, Citizens Advice Cheshire West, Cheshire Police, For Housing, EPNAVCO, Cheshire Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Brio Leisure.
Other organisations and voluntary groups from Ellesmere Port are represented through the projects being developed.