The Big Onion

With our primary goal being to support vulnerable people to make positive and lasting changes in their lives, MEH are committed to being part of the recovery! The Big Onion was born from a program Merseyside Expanding Horizons started in 2008, which gave support and advice to business starters and entrepreneurs. We aspired to give as much support as possible to new and local businesses, and so providing a physical shop space for these people was the natural evolution! The Big Onion Enterprise and Employment Incubator Hubs play an integral part of our inclusive strategy to support local entrepreneurialism, create jobs and strengthen communities. In December 2020 MEH successfully opened the Big Onion Bootle Hub where in year 1 it will support: - 60 new entrepreneurs to commence trading whilst receiving wraparound business support. Within this target is a commitment to support 15 women from BAME communities - 300 young people under the age of 25 with targeted employability support working in partnership with the Department of Work & Pensions - Support 90 people into full time jobs - 1600 local residents to engage in the community programme delivered from the Hub - 25 people into structured volunteering opportunities - 60 local businesses to upskill their staff by delivering accredited training The Big Onion hubs have three layers:

- The Market Space
- The Employability Hub
- The Community Centre The Market Space – It’s simple….here’s the deal: each trader is charged affordable rent for a self-contained unit within our mall. Signing a 1-year lease with a rolling 28 day break clause we support each trader to trade 6 days a week. In addition to the unit traders receive wrap around support and targeted interventions and support plan to help them grow. Within a supportive environment alongside a community of peers, we feel this is a unique offer. The Employability Hubs are unique! We provide space, support and one-to-one mentoring for anybody seeking employment. This includes how to find jobs and how to successfully apply for them. The hubs also engage with local employers to support them to fill opportunities within their businesses with local people. In addition we support our local employers through business development activities and targeted accredited training to upskill their existing workforce. Finally we work closely with JobCentre Plus and other public, private and third sector agencies to reach out to local people. All in one hub! The Community Hubs are run for and by the communities. They are venues for local people to meet for a range of activities and utilise the venue to their fullest potential. Whether it be learning something new or developing your skills, improving wellbeing, or giving something back to your local community. The Big Onion Enterprise and Employment Incubator Hubs enable us to: - Provide tailored business and social enterprise support to a variety of different groups across a range of business sectors
- Provide bespoke employability support and coaching to people from diverse backgrounds in direct partnership with Jobcentre+ and a variety of other cross sector providers of employability and training
- Signpost and refer potential entrepreneurs who need industry specific support e.g. digital
- Support participants and their families by providing practical and emotional support
- Provide test trading and incubation support to fledgling enterprises
- Work with schools and further and higher education institutions Through the Big Onions we work with people from disadvantaged groups who face multiple barriers to employment, the majority of whom have never considered self-employment or business start-up as a way back into work. We run a number of activities and projects that promote, support and enable individuals facing these barriers to start their business, become self-employed or enter mainstream employment. Our work at The Big Onion is underpinned by a delivery methodology which supports people using the following methods: - Understanding the individual including their experiences, skills, personal circumstances, and internal and external barriers; - Co-production of Individualised business/employment planning and support;
- Coaching and mentoring to start business or access employment opportunities;
- Ongoing business and employment mentoring in early stages of business start-up or employment;
- Re-engagement with busines or employment support where necessary. Through this work we have developed a strong understanding of the needs of people facing barriers to both business start-up and employment. This experience has given us a real insight into the main barrier that stops many retail entrepreneurs from launching their business: access to quality, affordable, and flexible retail units. Over the course of the next 3 years, we aim to establish a Big Onion in each of the 6 local authority areas of Liverpool City Region including Sefton, Halton, St Helens, Wirral, Liverpool and Knowsley. Following on from this we envisage establishing Big Onions in the wider Cheshire and West Lancashire areas. Based on our current projections and forecasts we believe that each Big Onion Enterprise & Employment hub will inject over £500,000 into the local economy, support 90 jobs and improve the lives of some 1600 local people. For more info:

Enterprise Hub Skills

Description Enterprise Hub Skills Project is a programme of entrepreneurial training, learning and development focused on Liverpool City Region residents who are thinking about starting their own business, who are self-employed, working or volunteering within or running small businesses. The objective is to support and improve their individual business skills, knowledge and capacity. This would be achieved by providing a specially designed package of community outreach, one to one advice, accredited and non-accredited enterprise skills development and training support. Enterprise Hub Skills training will therefore help to improve enterprise skills and qualifications levels, which would lead to increased numbers of enterprises created in the Liverpool City Region as well as improving their sustainability and performance. It will also help to promote a culture of entrepreneurial learning and development in LCR and critically help improve growth and productivity. The programme will be delivered between 1 st January 2020 and 30 th June 2023 with final data collection by 31st July 2023. Objectives Objectives The programme has been designed to address a number of specific problems: - Bespoke pre-start up enterprise training for individuals from disadvantaged groups - Provide necessary accredited skills and support to Unemployed and Economically Inactive and employed people in Liverpool City Region to empower them to develop their enterprise, teamworking and leadership skills MEH’s programme will provid participants an opportunity to develop and understand enterprise and entrepreneurialism and bridge the gap of people from disadvantaged people developing entrepreneurial related skills within LCR. It will enable access not available through mainstream routeways into sustainable businesses.. Targets We will work with 158 unemployed people and economically active people before June 2023 supporting 98 of these individual into education or employment. Partners The Women’ Organisation – Lead Partner (accountable body) Citizens Advice, Halton Everton Development Trust Granby Toxteth Development Trust Liverpool John Moores University MAKE CIC Raise Advice For more info: Joe Hemington,

New Horizons

Description New Horizons is a specifically designed and fully integrated programme of support which will improve the employability of 1950 people who are unemployed or economically inactive. Specifically, those experiencing specific barriers to training, education and employment opportunities e.g. BAME, disabled, people living with specific health conditions and people who have multiple and complex needs. New Horizons will: engage over 1950 beneficiaries to develop their confidence and self-esteem; support 331 people into training and education; enable 565 economically inactive people to participate in active job search or into employment, support 312 unemployed people to find employment, including selfemployment on leaving; support 585 people into employment, including self-employment 6 months after leaving the project; connect them to volunteering, specific job and job trail opportunities; connect them to other support programmes e.g. Households into Work, Enterprise Hub, Ways to Work ILM, Apprenticeships, AEB Provision, Building Better Opportunities – Better Off Finance and Digital Projects; assist 98 people with childcare needs by offering them childcare support. (between 100 and 300 words) Objectives The programme has been designed to address a number of specific problems: - Bespoke support for individuals with specific difficulty and often multiple barriers to the labour market caused by health and personal circumstances. - Provide necessary skills and ability to access labour market opportunities to Unemployed and Economically Inactive to secure and remain in employment - Provide additional and more intensive development support, for those individuals who are unemployed and economically inactive people to complement mainstream Adult Learning and Employment Support programmes thus creating a more level playing field within the labour market. - Provide specialist pathway support, namely more targeted interventions to assist those with specific needs due to disability, ill health, or personal circumstance and unemployed to secure employment in growth and transformational sectors with Liverpool City Region. - The need for support to enable those who face these specific barriers to the labour market to access paid work experience and employment in order to become more job ready - The need to explore non-traditional pathways to the labour market for people with health problems or disabilities MEH’s programme will provide unemployed and inactive participants an opportunity to develop and understand labour markets and bridge the gap of people with a disability/health condition gaining employment within LCR. It will enable access not available through mainstream routeways into sustainable jobs. In addition it will change the attitudes of local employers towards employing disabled people and building a better understanding of disability and mental health. Targets We will work with 158 unemployed people and economically active people before June 2023 supporting 98 of these individual into education or employment. Partners The Women’ Organisation – Lead Partner (accountable body) Citizens Advice, Halton Citizens Advice, Knowsley Innovative Alliance Knowsley Disability Concern LDAS/Heat Raise Advice Steve Biko Housing Association St Helens Chamber of Commerce The Brain Charity Transform Lives Company Wirral Chamber. For more info: Joe Hemington,


Program Erasmus+ KA2 Description More than the 27% of young people are at risk of poverty or social exclusion (Eurostat, 2019). Their personal circumstances and the environment in which they live may make them vulnerable to various violent radical influences. RADart aims to increase awareness and skills among youth workers and other professionals working with children and young people involved in non-formal learning activities. Youth radicalisation has become a growing issue in Europe and its neighbouring regions. All of these concerns have highlighted the need to work with youth workers, to help them find an efficient and effective way to engage with young people at risk of radicalization. Objectives - To develop accessible and innovative methodologies and promote collaboration among complementary organisations in order to improve competences of youth workers through capacity-building activities - To raise awareness of the impact of art on young people at risk of radicalisation through action research, artistic methodologies, and local and international events - To improve critical thinking skills of young people by involving them in a research and by using art - To raise awareness of the risks of extremism and radicalisation among family members and communities through accessible guidelines Targets - Youth workers
- Young people
- Broader communities
- Policy makers Partners RADart project brings together 5 different organisations from 5 EU countries and representing private, public and third sector. Merseyside Expanding Horizons, UK (Coordinator) Elan Interculturel, France
Osservatorio di Genere, Italy Le Foyer des Jeunes des Marolles, Belgium Town Hall Kostrzyn nad Odra, Poland For more info: Anna Bellan

Social Inclusion for Disadvantaged Youth (SIDY)

Programme: European Voluntary Service. Project No: 2018-2-UK01-KA125-048619. Description Social Inclusion for Disadvantaged Youth (SIDY) is a 24 months project. The project will select 6 volunteers (from 18 to 30 years old) from European countries which are interested in the field of social inclusion, migration and environment. Volunteers will have the opportunity to explore the subjects they care about and to support local communities and local organisations by acquiring knowledge and skills for their future employment. Target: young people from 18 to 30 years old. Contact:

ICT for Seniors

Program Erasmus + Key Action 2 Strategic Partnerships for Adult Education
Exchange of Good Practices Description In the context of the European Union, two of the most important changes that marked the 21st century are the emergence of an elderly population at a rate that has never been seen before and the rapidly developing information and communication technologies. While it is necessary that the simultaneous development of these two changes should support each other, the elderly population is the part of society that is the farthest from the technology. This project offers us two concepts that need to be integrated with each other for a better future in the new world: Seniors and ICT. The aging population will be isolated from social life and have bigger difficulties to cope with the different situations brought by aging if they are left alone and cannot integrate with technology. Seniors, who may have difficulty in leaving their homes, will not ne excluded from social life thanks to technology, they will be able to undertake their tasks, shopping, bank transactions more easily, connect with their loved ones through technological means and access lifelong learning opportunities on the internet. Thus, the technology will not only eliminate the feelings of loneliness but will also contribute to their participation in social life through various platforms. Objectives -To compare, contrast, identify and promote good practice that can enhance seniors’ active social inclusion in social life and lifelong learning practices.
-To enhance the provision of good quality learning opportunities to seniors.
-To contribute to seniors' social inclusion by using ICT in partner countries.
-To develop and extend the competences of adult education providers and organizations that work with adults in general and seniors in particular.
-To demonstrate the significant role ICT plays in ensuring social inclusion of seniors and their active participation in social life and lifelong learning through current practices across EU.
-To present identified best practices and develop new ideas to prepare a Good Practice Resource Guide and Seniors@ICT social media channel.
-To drive social change and contribute to society’s outlook to seniors’ active involvement in society by writing and sending a report on Positive Impact of ICT on Seniors’ Social Inclusion to policy makers in adult education sphere and by providing local, regional, national and EU level dissemination activities. Results -6 short term joint training events and 1 transnational meeting with 126 participants from 9 partners (18 participants in each event in addition to local participants and stakeholders who attend these events).
- Good Practice Resource Guide and Seniors@ICT social media channels
- Report on Positive Impact of ICT on Seniors’ Social Inclusion Partners ICT for Seniors brings 9 partners from EU and partner countries: Bolu Valiliği (Turkey) Bolu İzzet Baysal Halk Eğitimi Merkezi (Turkey) PRO-MED spolka z ograniczona odpowiedzialnoscia (Poland) Know and Can Association (Bulgaria) Associacio Cultural Meet and Map (Spain) Active Citizens Partnership (Greece) European Development Innovation Network (Scotland) Merseyside Expanding Horizons Limited (United Kingdom) Associazione Memoria Immagine (Italy) For more info: Stacey Robinson


Program Erasmus+ Description Despite efforts to implement policies and procedures in several European countries to tackle hate crime, it appears there are insufficient measures to build a tolerant society. It is evident that this issue cannot be addressed solely by law, we first need to create and share a common understanding of the phenomenon of hate speech to influence change among communities. Through deeper understanding about the issue we might find alternatives to deal with all elements of this subject and respond to create a more cohesive and inclusive society, allowing all citizens, regardless of the cultural, religious, gender or racial differences to live in harmony and less conflict. The main objective of this project is to gain a better understanding of what “hate speech” means and how it can affect young people’s mental health. In addition, the project aims to raise awareness of hate speech crimes among the community and local institutions. Targets Politicians, policy makers, potential oppressors, young people, young survivors, members of school staff, youth organisations, associations dealing with hate speech crimes and social inclusion. Partners Agis, Note et INNOVE (France) Merseyside Expanding Horizons (UK) UNITED SOCIETIES OF BALKANS ASTIKI ETAIREIA (Greece) Asociacion Mar Violeta (Spain) PROMIMPRESA (Italy) Associação Novo Mundo Azul (Portugal) For more info: Anna Bellan


Program Erasmus+ Description The main objective of the In My Art – Inclusive Multicultural societies through Art project is to encourage young people to build an inclusive society and intercultural community especially in contexts where migrants have fewer opportunities to be actively involved into host communities. The project aims to: - Raise awareness among Youth Workers and organisations about the real needs and desires of young people in order to effectively adapt methods and practices using arts in various multicultural contexts - Develop and share effective and sustainable practices inspired by Arte Migrante method with other organisations to build an inclusive society based on dialogue, cohesion, diversity and non-discrimination - Promote active participation of Young People in their own community with a special focus on Young People at risk of Social Exclusion due to cultural, social and economic obstacles. Targets Youth Workers, Young People and organisations that will be trained through innovative methodologies and tools in order to connect with young people at risk of social exclusion Partners Per esempio Onlus (Italy) Merseyside Expanding Horizons (UK) Arte Migrante (Italy) Groupe de recherche et de realizations pour le développement rural (France) AWO Kreisverband (Germany) United Societies of Balkans (Greece) Asociación Caminos – Asociación para el intercambio educación y desarrollo social (Spain) For more info: Anna Bellan Website: Learn more about In my Art, read our second Newsletter!


Program Erasmus+ Description YC aimed at creating strong link between young refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants and EU Youth through creative work and cultural activities aimed at fostering social inclusion. EU Youth Report stated that young people should be able to grow up in inclusive and pluralistic communities, based on European democratic values, the rule of law and fundamental rights Education, youth participation, interfaith and intercultural dialogue have a key role to play in preventing radicalisation by promoting common European values, fostering social inclusion, enhancing mutual understanding and tolerance (European Commission, 2015). The objective of Youth Connections project is to contribute to more equal, intercultural and inclusive youth local communities through new approaches and transnational initiatives. Targets - Young resident refugees, asylum seekers and migrants - Youth workers, trainers and teachers will be trained through innovative methodologies, teaching/learning modules and guidelines to involve the above-mentioned target group together with European youth and Local stakeholders (associations, schools, public authorities, etc.) Partners MERSEYSIDE EXPANDING HORIZONS LIMITED (UK) PROMIMPRESA SRL (IT) Asociacija "Aktyvus jaunimas" (LT) AGIS, NOTE et INNOVE (FR) APROXIMAR- COOPERATIVA DE SOLIDARIEDADE SOCIAL CRL (PT) ICEP s.r.o (SK) For more info: Anna Bellan


Program Erasmus+ ka2 Description In accordance with European Strategy 2020, WISE project aims to create a positive environment for women with disadvantaged background around social entrepreneurship in order to boost their confidence, encourage the improvement of their skills and foster their self-employability with the support of tools and other women entrepreneurs and adult educators. The final goal is to inspire women from different backgrounds and include them in the labour market. Targets - Women of marginalised groups aspiring to become social entrepreneurs - Women business leaders from Social Enterprise - Adult Educators - Participating organisations (indirect target groups) - Training centres Partners WISE brings together 6 different organisations from 6 EU countries and representing private, public and third sector. The project is led by Merseyside Expanding Horizons that will work with partners from France, Italy, Romania, Slovenia and Spain that have a different expertise and will bring different perspectives on the field. For more info: Anna Bellan

“All in Campaign Against Discrimination! Forum, Paris June 2019”

Merseyside Expanding Horizons is proud to be a part of ANI International Project  All in Campaign Against Discrimination! supported by the Mairie de Paris, which held in Paris, France on June 2019. We engaged three young people from Liverpool to be a part of this project and organised Workshops about stereotypes and prejudices and legal framework in the UK to act against all forms of discrimination to prepare participating in this forum.
Before flying to Paris, we organised workshops in Liverpool to discuss with our participants about their knowledge of discrimination and to share more about the legal framework in UK and how can people be aware about discrimination types and how can they report accidents of discrimination. As well as, they created a video about cyber bulling as type of discrimination and how it could affect the lives of young people. We shared their experience during the forum in Paris and discussed with the attendees about discrimination and cyber bullying.
On the other hand, our participants shared with us the new gained experiences and developed competences during the forum.
Liam, One of our participants enjoyed working in a team before and during the forum and said “I learnt from others in regards to coming up with creative ideas for the video. You could say I developed my capacity for thinking outside the box”
and continued “The most significant thing I learnt is about the UK laws surrounding discrimination in the UK, as I did not know about these before, and I consider it actionable knowledge that could be used on a personal or professional level”

V for Volunteers (V4V)

Program Erasmus+ Description V4V aims to empower youth workers and support staff who are experienced in the volunteerism field to develop competences related to promotion, implementation and mainstreaming of volunteer projects as a tool for social inclusion and de-radicalization. The aim is to contribute to the legal decision and policy making processes that shapes the voluntary youth work across Europe, based on non-formal educational activities via cooperation with local, regional and international authorities. The first phase will have a holistic approach to the volunteerism and discover the role of volunteerism as a way of civic engagement and capacity development of youth. The special target group on this phase will be marginalized young people who are at a risk of radicalization. The participants will look for the ways to use volunteerism as a tool to create opportunities which would lead to social inclusion of the members of this group. The second phase of the project will create a sharing space for evaluating the volunteering projects that the partners have been implementing so far in order to highlight good and bad practices, learning points and experiences. This phase is expected to create the required interaction for the partners benefit from each others’ skills, expertise and experience. At this point participants are expected to make use of the collective knowledge exists on the venue and come up with innovative approaches, tools and methodologies which can be applied to different phases of the voluntary project cycle. In the third phase of the project, participants will have an open forum methodology in order to establish policy recommendations regarding to the framework of voluntary projects, which would be shared with the local, regional and European level authorities. The presence of the decision/policy makers is also expected in this forum. These recommendations will also aim to cover the possible roles of the both policy makers and the youth workers for the establishment of sustainable link between European Voluntary Service and European Solidarity Corps. Targets Young people who are at risk of radicalization Volunteers Youth organizations Organizations that don’t have volunteers Youngsters who did not have prior experience on voluntarism Partners United Societies of Balkan Per Esempio AUTOKREACJA Sende For more info: Anna Bellan

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