From education to employment

Government advances vision for Big Society – Organisations secure funding for Adult and Community Learning

As a part of the new Adult and Community Learning Fund, 59 organisations from across England have secured funding from the Skills Funding Agency to offer informal adult and community learning opportunities to help make the Big Society a reality.

The fund is managed by the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE), and has awarded a total of £2.25 million to a variety of organisations who will begin work at the start of September.

Commenting on the projects, Skills Minister John Hayes said: “These winning projects are prime examples of the powerful impact that informal adult and community learning can have on individuals and society as a whole.

“It improves skills and job prospects as well as strengthening the networks and neighbourhoods that form the fabric of our everyday lives.”

The variety of different projects supported through this fund are expected to have dramatic a impact on local communities, invigorating individuals and families to grow in confidence.

Sue O’Gorman, programme manager at NIACE, said: “The initiatives will ensure that some of the most marginalised people in the society will have the opportunity to learn more about themselves and to contribute to the transformation of where they live”, said Sue O’Gorman, Programme Manager at NIACE.

The projects include:

• ‘Signing Art’ – an informal learning programme for adult British Sign Language users who wish to become presenters within cultural institutions.

• A project for hospital patients in Birmingham, to have access to a one-stop service providing training, mentoring and Information, Advice and Guidance, to integrate them back into society.

• A project to create Workplace Learning Champions/Employee Learning Advocates in non-unionised workplaces.

• Projects to help support ex-offenders, in particular where volunteers will provide regular face to face support addressing barriers to accessing learning and employment and financial literacy.

• Courses designed to help people who have been homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless develop the skills required to manage their tenancy.

• Projects where the local community will take responsibility for the upkeep of an area and provide community food growing, family learning activities, environmental skills training and sustainability.

• Establish the first training scheme for volunteers on the Isles of Scilly and another on the Isle of Wight.

• A travelling arts project designed to engage difficult to reach communities in Leeds’ most deprived areas. Practitioners and student volunteers will work with individuals to decorate fabric with print and text, whilst giving guidance on progression.

• 60 volunteers from diverse local communities will learn how to re-open and run Nottingham’s unique Industrial Museum in Wollaton Park.

• A community broadcasting project will target vulnerable and hard to reach elderly people to reduce social isolation, improve health and independence.

• A project to enable adults with learning difficulties and seniors to compose music using tablet computer technology.

• A project to support women affected by domestic violence/abuse to take the first small steps on their journey to recovery and a new life from women with similar experiences but who have already moved on.

• A Neighbourhood Action Programme in Blackpool which will train and support local residents to work independently of statutory bodies to improve their communities.

Aastha Gill

Related Articles