Policy Commitments

Community First  |  Building Bridges and Inspire Swindon Programmes

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Building Bridges Programme 2016-2023 Impact Banner

Building Bridges Programme 2016-2023

The Building Bridges Programme (2016-2023) was a multi-agency employment and education support programme, bringing together charities, private organisations and statutory bodies. It targeted people in Wiltshire and Swindon who were furthest from the labour market with multiple, complex barriers and challenges in their lives to move towards, achieve and sustain ongoing employment and education outcomes.

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The programme has been highly successful both in terms of participant outcomes and cost-effectiveness. It has generated over £12m of benefit across Swindon and Wiltshire since its launch in late 2016.

The programme has also been highly effective in reaching and supporting people where more mainstream employability support approaches have not proved successful. Despite nearly 70% of participants being economically inactive and 19% being from areas of multiple deprivation, the programme has helped 68% into education and employment and many more to move nearer to the world of work. 

The programme worked on a one-to-one basis with participants who were living in Wiltshire and Swindon, and were unemployed or economically inactive and facing multiple complex challenges and barriers. This included disability, homelessness, school exclusion and criminal records. Support workers always encouraged their participants to seek the best possible outcome for them.

The programme was jointly funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund as part of the national Building Better Opportunities Programme and ended in March 2023.

Programme Impact

Participants supported through the programme since late 2016


Of participants achieved a positive outcome through the programme


Moved into employment with support from the programme


Moved into education, including 291 who were NEET or at risk


Positive outcomes for participants who were homeless


Positive outcomes for participants with disabilities or long term health problems


Positive outcomes for participants who were classed as being disadvantaged


Positive outcomes for participants who were ex-offenders


Economic benefit delivered to the region.


Hours of keyworker support

Programme Partnership

The programme was delivered by a broad range of cross-sector partners with a strong delivery record across both Swindon and Wiltshire. Community First was the managing partner for the Building Bridges Programme.  Over the six years of the programme, more than 40 partners were involved in supporting participants. The programme acknowledges and extends grateful thanks to the following key delivery organisations.

Active Plus
Inner Flame
Vaughans Cookery School
Volunteer Centre Swindon
Citizens Advice Wiltshire
Swindon 105.5
Wiltshire College
Community First
Mike Read Associates
Swindon Borough Council
Wiltshire Council
Fear Less
Mind Wiltshire
Learning Curve
Wiltshire Scrapstore
Green Labyrinth
New College Swindon
Thera Trust
Wiltshire Wildlife Trust

Impact Report

View and download the Building Bridges Programme (2016-2023) Impact Report

View and download the Building Bridges Programme (2016-2023) Impact Report

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