2020: Team of the Year Joint winner: Building Bridges

“100% it has put my confidence up higher than I thought possible at the beginning of the process. I’m not just talking about my confidence in a work capacity but for everything in my life.”


The Building Bridges programme supports people across Swindon and Wiltshire who are facing significant challenges in being able to develop their skills, access education or move towards the world of work. The programme is a partnership of local organisations and is part of the national Building Better Opportunities programme – jointly funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund – which aims to tackle the poverty and social exclusion faced by the most disadvantaged people. The programme commenced working with participants in October 2016.


Since launch, Building Bridges has supported more than 1,220 participants and is currently supporting almost 400 people, giving them the skills and confidence they need to progress.  

Working with people on a one-to-one basis, the team supports those furthest from the labour market, offering specialist support to access skills, education, and work experience in addition to supporting areas including physical and mental wellbeing, debt and financial advice, transport, and childcare. Most of the participants are classed as being disadvantaged; having disabilities or long-term health conditions, being an ex-offender or homeless when joining the programme.

The entire team, incorporating the lead team, partner organisations and key support workers all work collaboratively on a day to day basis to ensure that participants access the support they need to meet their individual goals. Each participant works with a mentor, helping them to access support from across the partnership.

More than half (54.5%) of the Building Bridges participants achieve a positive outcome, with someone moving into a job every three working days.


“I know that it isn’t going to be a straight line for me, and I definitely have my good days and bad days, but I’m in a different place to where I was a year ago and that’s thanks to Building Bridges.”

Building Bridges participant

“100% it has put my confidence up higher than I thought possible at the beginning of the process. I’m not just talking about my confidence in a work capacity but for everything in my life. I don’t think I can emphasise quite how terrible I felt before I went on this programme… I can’t praise you all enough, it has been literally life changing.”

Building Bridges participant

“I would like to let your team know our appreciation… Gayle’s supportive approach, and her commitment and knowledge in her work, has been life changing for people.

Gemma, Work Coach, Trowbridge Job Centre Plus


This programme is delivered by a cross-sector partnership of local organisations and is proven to deliver cost-effective and meaningful results. This collaborative approach takes hard work, communication, and commitment to succeed, with the sharing of best practice and consistency of delivery across the team being of paramount importance. The team has built strong, effective links with local stakeholders and has adapted quickly to keep supporting people through the pandemic.