AN innovative scheme aiming to help the long-term unemployed into training and work has helped more than 800 Merseyside households in its first year.

The Households into Work pilot scheme, delivered by Liverpool City Region (LCR) Combined Authority, started in March 2018 and sees a team of 25 working with households across Halton, Wirral, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Knowsley.

Funded with a £3.5m grant from the Department for Work and Pensions plus £1m from the LCR Combined Authority pot, the programme works with households that have two or more adults not in work and because of difficult circumstances, find themselves unable to search for employment.

The team from the project work with clients who may have mental health issues, caring responsibilities, experience of domestic abuse, chronic health issues, isolation and homelessness.

They then work to put a tailored support package in place for each individual to help them get back into work.

As of March 2019, the programme has worked with 834 households, had 376 of these make significant improvements/move closer to work, seen 460 complete at least one activity and successfully move 11% of clients into employment.

Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram told the World: "When I was elected, I said that I want to ensure that fairness and social justice is etched into every policy, every service and economic initiative delivered through the Combined Authority.

“A major part of that has to be ensuring that everyone in the city region has the opportunity to reach their potential.

"And that means making sure that people have second chances.

“And that is what this fantastic scheme is all about.

"I have been out and met people who have benefited from Households into Work and seen how people with many barriers to overcome have flourished thanks to this scheme and the dedicated advocates who deliver it.

“When you think that 20% of the people on the scheme have never worked, and nearly 40% have been unemployed for more than three years, the progress we are seeing is extraordinary.

"And that progress doesn’t just benefit the individuals and households directly involved – it benefits entire communities and ultimately the public purse.”