More projects funded for adult community learning

3 October 2011

Another 27 organisations from across England have secured a total of £900k in funding from the Skills Funding Agency to offer informal adult and community learning opportunities to help make the Big Society a reality.

The new Adult and Community Learning Fund, managed by NIACE, has already distributed a total of £2.25million to another 59 organisations, who started work at the beginning of the month. Some of the activity that the 27 new projects will be involved in includes:

  • giving people the confidence, skills and language to influence the design of their local neighbourhoods, whilst working alongside architects and planners. This will include site visits and practical sessions using photography, Computer Aided Design, model-making and other digital media;
  • teaching people who are HIV positive about healthy living, well-being and managing their condition better, through a menu of accredited and non-accredited courses. This will involve Expert Patient self-Management Skills, budgeting, volunteering and progressing onto further learning;
  • involving disengaged parent-carers living in Stratford, Newham, in their local children’s centre, through a variety of support activities. This will help them communicate more effectively with their children, have a greater awareness of what the community has to offer them, develop their confidence, and progress on to further learning or job opportunities;
  • teaching Social Housing tenants practical skills to use less energy, eat healthily on a budget, cut travel costs, get the best deal, budget, maximise income and advise others;
  • helping people with complex needs discover new ways of communicating and exploring teamwork and creativity, through multisensory workshops of dance. Support workers will receive hands-on arts & disability training to develop their own community creative projects and learn more about their clients’ artistic needs and aspirations;
  • giving people with learning disabilities the opportunity to develop high quality musical performances and recordings using traditional and self-constructed instruments. For some it will provide a bridge into formal learning; for others it will improve quality of life, communication skills and self confidence;
  • developing accessible video production training, through the net-TV channel, to both showcase the work produced and to generate sufficient local advertising revenue for the training to become self-sustainable; and
  • giving people who have become isolated due to the death, divorce or separation from their partner, the practical skills to carry out tasks.

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:

“We are delighted that we are able to fund these additional excellent projects that will engage some of the most marginalised people in society giving them new skills, helping to improve their self-confidence, well-being and quality of life, and in some cases progressing them into further learning. Skills and lifelong learning should be at the heart of every community and the Government is committed to making that happen.”

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

“It is great to be able to give funding to these projects so they can get more adults involved in learning and in their community. All these projects were very close to being funded first time round and they now have the opportunity to get their innovative ideas into action. Learning can have a big impact on all sorts of people, helping individuals and families to grow in confidence and come together for the benefit of the whole community.

“Some of the most marginalised people in society will now have the opportunity to learn, to contribute and see the positive effects on their families and 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.”