As hundreds of families in Lincoln struggle to survive financially with 4,500 children living in poverty, the city council is helping people to start their own small businesses. Through the authority’s Bee Better Off campaign, people are being encouraged to make the most their life skills and interests in ways they may never have thought possible. Ed Grover finds out how the council can help...
Increasing levels of support for people who want to start up their own enterprises are being made available in Lincoln.
Free advice from the City of Lincoln Council has meant more individuals have a chance to be their own boss.
And low-cost premises have been created for inexperienced new entrepreneurs.
Now the authority is encouraging people to use their homegrown skills as a way out of poverty.
Hobbies, interests and previous work experience are all being highlighted as possible sources for new businesses.
And the council's leader Ric Metcalfe says expert advisors are ready to support residents in need.
"Problems with poverty can be caused by not just unemployment but with issues with underemployment and low-paid work.
"Parents can have three or four part-time jobs just to make the hours of a full-time job and it's becoming a problem.
"But sometimes they can have skills they never realised they had.
"We want to help people recognise these things and encourage them to play to their strengths, and then from there we can help them set up their own businesses."
LINBIS is a support network established by a partnership between the North Kesteven, West Lindsey, East Lindsey and Lincoln district councils.
Anyone interested in starting up their own company can contact the City of Lincoln Council to arrange free advice sessions.
It can also seek support for individuals from specialists within the county.
Funding for new enterprises can be secured through the Prince's Trust, which helps people under the age of 25.
And the Government's New Enterprise Allowance is available to people who have been on Jobseeker's Allowance for six months.
The University of Lincoln also offers financial assistance for graduates.
Mr Metcalfe explained getting people into jobs was important in cutting the generational cycle of poverty.
"Kids can grow up in an environment where everything can seem hopeless and there is a belief the only way to get a job is through qualifications or other requirements," he said.
"We need to change this so they know there are other ways into work, whether this is through apprenticeships, studying or starting up a business.
"Growing up believing these things are possible is hugely important.
"We know about the situations families are in and we are determined to do what we can to help."
Mr Metcalfe said the council valued the creation of small businesses as well as the investment from large firms.
The push for new start-ups is part of its longer term strategic plan, which is being designed to help the city grow.
The council says more jobs and houses are needed to cater for an increasing population.
It believes business support is one way to meet this demand.