Funding secured for innovative community learning

22nd August 2012

97 organisations from across England, out of a total of 2215 applications, have secured funding from the Skills Funding Agency to offer new and innovative community learning opportunities to adults and families as part of the Community Learning Innovation Fund.

The fund, managed by NIACE, will invest around £4 million in community learning, including funds for a variety of new projects which will begin work at the start of September. The projects will offer a wide range of learning opportunities, including:

  • Teaching money management and budgeting skills to social housing tenants, empowering them to make more informed financial choices and decisions, including how to better protect themselves from scams, frauds and loan sharks.
  • Enabling adults with a learning disability and other under-represented people to take up learning opportunities which will enable them to play an active role in making and influencing positive change in their communities.
  • Supporting older people and people with long-term health conditions to learn new skills, gain confidence and take an active, sustainable and fulfilling part in their community through volunteering.
  • Facilitating informal learning projects with female offenders to create digital stories inspired by local museum objects and the women’s own diverse experiences.
  • Developing an inclusive online community learning environment with adults with learning disabilities, to build ICT and web skills to enable users of all ages and abilities to realise personal goals and take a more active part in their communities.
  • Providing disengaged people with the opportunity to tell their story, share and cook recipes and collaborate on producing a book about their stories and their recipes, in printed and digital versions; linking them into local learning providers.
  • Bringing together Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities to produce and maintain a living archive through film, audio, an exhibition, a website and a book, and enabling them to progress to further learning.
  • Offering disadvantaged communities an opportunity to explore the history of new communities in their area, how they have been integrated and the impact on the host community.
  • Delivering a programme of learning encounters for local communities, to build understanding about diversity and sustainability by connecting their daily lives with wider global issues.
  • Providing learning and support to families, particularly of BME heritage, in a more culturally and sensitive way using a Peer Parent Mentoring Model.

Verity Hancock, Skills Funding Agency, Executive Director Capacity and Infrastructure, said:

“The response to the new Community Learning Innovation Fund has been phenomenal and the Skills Funding Agency is pleased to be able to support these innovative projects that meet the needs of local people. By making it easier for disadvantaged people to learn new skills and access training and support, they gain new opportunities to improve their lives, building stronger families and communities in the process.”

Carol Taylor, Director of Development and Research at NIACE, said:

“NIACE is proud, once again, to have the role of supporting the Skills Funding Agency in managing the Community Learning Innovation Fund. We know from our experience of managing both the Transformation Fund and the Adult and Community Learning Fund for Government, how much enthusiasm there is for this kind of learning and the kind of overwhelmingly positive impact it has. And the response to this new fund has, again, been staggering. We received over 2200 bids, so deciding which of the projects should receive funding has been incredibly tough. However, this means that the very best projects will be starting work soon and transforming the lives of local people and local communities.”