Organisations funded for adult and community learning

2 September 2011

The Adult and Community Learning Fund, managed by NIACE, has awarded a total of £2.25million to a variety of organisations who will begin work at the start of September. Some of the projects include:

• Signing Art, an informal learning programme for adult British Sign Language users wishing to become presenters within cultural institutions, including Tate Britain;

• a project for hospital patients in Birmingham – including service-people who have suffered major trauma – who will 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;

• several 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;

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

• a travelling Arts project designed to fit in a suitcase. Working in unusual places 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 targetting 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; and

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

John Hayes, Minister for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, 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.”

Geoff Russell, Chief Executive of the Skills Funding Agency, said:

“Each project that has secured funding from the Adult and Community Learning Fund will make a tremendous difference to the lives of individuals and to the communities they are part of. Skills and lifelong learning should be at the heart of every community and the Government is committed to making that happen with its vision for the Big Society.”

Sue O’Gorman, Programme Manager at NIACE, said:

“We have seen, in the past, the dramatic impact that these kind of initiatives can have on entire local communities – invigorating individuals and families to grow in confidence. The variety of projects that are being supported through this fund will ensure that some of the most marginalised people in society will have the opportunity to learn more about themselves and to contribute to the transformation of where they live. Learning creates energy in communities. It gives people the freedom to develop new forms of activity that engage whole neighbourhoods in doing things they feel passionate about.”