Deadline approaches for ‘lifeline’ Foundation funding opportunity - one not to be missed
The National Express Foundation is urging organisations across the West Midlands and Kent to take advantage of an increased £300,000 of funding, before it is too late.
Applications for funding to support local young people must be received by Thursday 8 March 2018.
The Foundation previously invited local community groups to bid for grants of £2,500 or £5,000. This year, with the amount of funding being doubled from £150,000 to £300,000, groups can also bid for larger amounts of £10,000 or £20,000 to support sustainable projects that provide positive and engaging activities for young people in deprived areas.
Since its launch in 2012, the Foundation has awarded hundreds of thousands of pounds which has helped over 14,200 young people enjoy positive activities within their local communities and to continue with their education.
Community groups are not the only ones to benefit from Foundation funding. Local colleges and universities can also apply for grants of £10,000 per year towards innovative bursary schemes that help students from disadvantaged backgrounds continue in further or higher education.
To be eligible, groups or educational institutions must be based within the West Midlands, or within Kent’s ME1-ME12, ME14, DA3, DA11, DA12 or DA13 postal codes. Full guidelines on how to apply and application forms can be found at www.nationalexpressgroup.com/foundation.
Smethwick Youth and Community Centre used a Foundation grant to support numeracy and literacy classes for youths aged 11-19, helping to improve their skills and provide them with a better chance at accessing the jobs market, while also increasing their educational knowledge. As of February 2018 the group had 60 registrations, with 45 young people actively attending each week.
Luke Darbey, Community Centre Manager at Smethwick Youth and Community Centre said:
"The National Express Foundation funding truly has been a lifeline in helping us to create a platform to engage young people in the local community. We have been so pleased to see so many of our young people using our facilities. As a Community Centre Manager it has been refreshing to see youngsters attending our numeracy and literacy sessions with a passion to learn."
Castle Vale Neighbourhood Partnership Board in Birmingham used a £2,500 grant to deliver ‘Inspire Bike’ workshops to educate, motivate and inspire local young people interested in bicycle activity by building positive experiences and activities, helping them to break out of a cycle of poor and disruptive behaviour.
Ifor Jones from Castle Vale Neighbourhood Partnership Board said:
“The National Express Foundation funding was the catalyst we needed to develop a solution to some of the anti-social behaviour in Castle Vale that was being perpetrated with bikes. We were able to turn this problem on its head and develop a scheme that celebrated the potential of cycling activity as a positive stimulant for improved behaviours and better wellbeing of young people. The project was subsequently recognised as national best practice and project of the year by Resolve ASB.”
Tara Martins Community Project in Medway used a Foundation grant to expand the level of help they offered within the local community. They were able to engage vulnerable young people and provide them with the opportunity to learn skills and access training. The programme helped improve their self-confidence, get back into further education or jobs, and live happy, healthy and independent lives. Some of those young people supported by the project have stayed with the group and now regularly volunteer to help others.
Tara Sobowale from the Tara Martins Community Project said:
“The National Express Foundation funding was a lifeline for our first year of operation. Where many other organisations would have asked us for years of proven track record, we were given an opportunity to explain what we were doing to empower young, disadvantaged people to gain employment. The Foundation’s support helped us set up and run a youth programme, which our young people happily engaged in and as a result the majority of our participants are now young ambassadors in our community, contributing to our communities growth as well as pursuing follow-on programmes to enable them to live better, independent lives.”
Anthony Vigor, Chairman of the National Express Foundation, said:
“We are extremely proud that over the last six years, the National Express Foundation grants have helped over 14,200 young people to enjoy positive and engaging activities and helped them to gain qualifications and learn new skills. This year we’re really pleased to have been able to double the amount of funding available to help even more local young people in the communities that we serve. I would urge all local educational institutions and community groups to submit an application for funding.”