South Yorkshire: £7.9 million to help people with health conditions to stay in employment and to rejoin the workforce

SCR Mayor Dan Jarvis with Minister Sarah Newton at the launch of Working Win. Picture: Dean Atkins
SCR Mayor Dan Jarvis with Minister Sarah Newton at the launch of Working Win. Picture: Dean Atkins

A multi-million pilot has been officially launched to help South Yorkshire people with disabilities and health conditions to stay in employment and rejoin the workforce.

The 'Working Win' scheme aims to assess the best type of support for those who are out of work, or struggling in employment due to health problems.

The Government is handing £7.9 million to the region as they try to hit their target of getting one million more disabled people into work by 2027.

The trial is being delivered in partnership with the NHS and South Yorkshire Housing Association. Sheffield City Region is one of two sites running the research along with the West Midlands.

Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis was joined by the Minister for Disabled People, Work and Health, Sarah Newton.

Mr Jarvis said: "I'm really proud of this, It gives a good example of how we can show a lead nationally and it's an example of a scheme that gives practical value for people's lives.

"We have got quite a significant cohort of the working population who have health-related issues which impact on their ability to get into the world of work and this is a really useful pilot which looks at how these people can be better supported.

"I've spoken to a number of people who've benefited from it - there's been a significant uptake from people, GPs and private sector businesses. I do believe it will be a scheme which will be looked at enviously from other parts of the country."

As a randomised control trial, Working Win aims to test whether a new type of employment support is more effective than existing services.

Half the people who sign up are therefore given tailored individual placement and support services, while the other half are given support from existing channels.

Since it began, more than 1,000 people have already signed up across Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster.

Asked about increasing waiting times for mental health appointments, Minister Sarah Newton said the Government had invested 'record' levels into mental health services.

She added the scheme was a commitment to getting more people into work and the region was 'leading the way'.

"We need to enable employers to be much more confident to have conversations with their workforce to say it's okay if you're experiencing challenges with poor mental health.

"We need to give the employers the tools to know how to support that person - it's quite a big culture change.

“Sheffield City Region is leading the way in this area and projects like this are key in helping us achieve our target of getting one million disabled people into work by 2027.”

"It is open to participants who are aged 18 or over, who are registered with a GP in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw and who have a mental and/or physical health condition that they feel is a barrier to moving into employment or remaining in their current role. The trial is voluntary and will not affect the participant’s benefits status.

"People can self-refer to the trial or get referred by healthcare professionals. Employers can also join the scheme to receive tailored support in order to improve wellbeing in their workplaces."