A new £4.4million programme is being developed to help people overcome barriers to employment and get back into work in Tilbury after £2.2million was secured from the European Structural and Investment Funds.

The Tilbury Tomorrow project will aim to get hundreds of unemployed people into work, education or training, and the most disengaged actively looking for jobs.

It will also seek to help the development of 40 new small and medium enterprises through start-up grants and other support, as well as support about 68 existing businesses with funding available for upgrading shop fronts and other improvements.

The community-led local development project, which will run until 2022, was granted £2.2million from the European Structural and Investment Funds, which will be matched funded with £2.2million from other sources. Planning is now underway before the programme starts later in 2019.

Cllr Deborah Huelin, Thurrock Council’s portfolio holder for Communities, said: “Tilbury has some of the highest levels of deprivation in the borough. This project seeks to reach out to people who need help most to overcome some of the key barriers to employment, including both physical and mental health.

“Thurrock is undergoing huge regeneration and, as one of the borough’s growth hubs, Tilbury is an important part of that, with plans including the proposed expansion of the Port of Tilbury. This programme will play an important role in ensuring that the town’s residents have the skills they need to benefit from the employment opportunities that are being created.

“The community will be right at the heart of the project, working with private, public and voluntary sector organisations to develop tailored and accessible support services that are right for Tilbury.”