Walsall is the 25th most deprived local authority area in England. The number of people calming job seekers allowance rose from 6,990 in January 2020 at the start of the pandemic to 15150 in April 2021.

This is 8.6% of working age population claiming unemployment support (up from 4.6% in January 2020) and is persistently higher level than England average (6.4%).

In August 2020 whg, Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, Walsall College and the Department of Work and Pensions, began working collaboratively to support disadvantaged adults to gain employment. 

A pilot ‘Work 4 Health’ programme was developed offering the opportunity to support retraining for unemployed people, many made redundant as a result of the pandemic and to offer opportunities within the borough that will lead to substantive employment with the Trust.

This initial pilot resulted in 14 unemployed candidates being offered support services job roles within Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust.

It was highlighted as an excellent example of cross-sector collaboration at place level as a means of tackling the wider determinants of health, widening the NHS candidate pool and a way of improving workforce retention.

This resulted in additional funding being made available by the Trust to ensure the continuation of the programme and to extend it to other roles.