From education to employment

Council For Voluntary Service Network Launched

Councils in Central London involved in the Voluntary Service Network recently launched a cross borough capacity building project.

The launch took place at the Commonwealth Club in central London. More than 50 delegates attended to discover more about the innovative projects that will benefit the voluntary and community sector in London. The voluntary and community sector organisation works to engage the community. This is done through organisations who work with homeless people, refuges, ex-offenders, people with disabilities and the long-term unemployed.

The three projects being offered are; Linking Organisational Training and Skills (LOTS), which will provide skills training and capacity building to suit the individual needs of an organisation; the Achieving a Quality Standard project will support organisations implementing the PQASSO quality assurance model; and finally the Accredited Project Management (APM) will address the skills gaps within the voluntary and community sector.

Benefits of Borough Wide Approach

Learning and Skills Council London Central (LSCLC) Council Member Su Thomas supports the work of these projects. The LSC is keen to help build and support infrastructure and skills through the European Social Fund (ESF). The diversity of London boroughs requires each service to respond to stakeholder demand at a local level.

Su said: “I believe that this launch and projects are an excellent opportunity to highlight how this work will help to create networks and build capacity within the sector.” The ESF aims to help those who are unemployed to enter work. It also works to promote lifelong learning and developed the skills of employed people.

London has received a total of £475 million Objective 3 ESF funding in 2000-2006. LSCLC has been allocated £26 million. In 2002-2004 co-financing plan saw the LSCLC spent over £3 million on 12 projects supporting the voluntary and community sector. This has continued in 2005-2006 and resulted in seven projects being funded to deliver capacity building activity until July 2007. The money spent will benefit 3,000 organisations and 55,000 people in central London.

The Council for Voluntary Service for Camden, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Southwark, Wandsworth and Westminster will run the new projects. The training and support is available free of charge.

Angela Balakrishnan

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