2015 winners

Read below to find out more about the groups we supported in 2015 and how our funding helped with their projects and activities.

Educational institution award 

In 2015 we awarded a total of £70,000 to three educational institutions to support student bursaries.

Coventry University

Coventry University is using its three year annual bursary to support 30 disadvantaged students.

Each year, 10 students undertaking a degree in automotive and transport design, product design, business management, accounting and finance, childhood and youth studies, or community development and social care, will all benefit from a £1,000 bursary to support them with the cost of their studies.

South and City College Birmingham

South and City College is using its two year annual bursary to support 20 16-19 year olds that are on a full time course of 16+ hours a week or more and face financial difficulties which affect their ability to continue in further education.

Small bursaries of £500 will be given to students to help fund their travel costs for work placements, the purchase of books and equipment related to their studies, ICT and internet access outside of college, and general living costs associated with being in education.

South Essex College

South Essex College is using its two year annual bursary to support 16-24 year olds on full time further or higher education courses at its three college campuses in Southend, Basildon and Grays.

The bursary will be split to support students in a range of different ways, including smaller £200 bursaries for 20 individual students to purchase items such as text to speech software to assist with assignments, or photography equipment to support their final major project. A further £500 will be split into a maximum of two small bursaries to support students who are facing extreme hardship. Six final major project awards of £250 will be given to students on art and design courses and are required to produce work for an exhibition or show - an expensive part of this particular course.

To recognise and celebrate achievements, the college will use £1,000 to split into 20 awards of £50 each for students who have been nominated by staff as overcoming barriers and successfully completing their course. A further £500 will be used for the college’s graduation event, at which 10 awards of £50 will be given out to students, and another £1,000 will be used for an ‘Attendance Challenge’ whereby students who achieve 100% attendance are entered in to a prize draw every half term to win funds.

The final £1,500 will be put towards group/class activities or items required by a large number of students.

Community award 

In 2015 we awarded grants totalling £35,000 to 12 different community groups. Find out more about these groups and how our funding supported their projects.

Bar N Bus Trust, Benfleet

Bar N Bus began in 1993 in response to a growing number of local young people getting involved with drugs, alcohol, crime and vandalism. The group renovated three double-decker buses to provide a safe, engaging environment as an alternative for young people to relax, chat and receive support with any issues they may have. Volunteers go out on the buses each night, with on board facilities including a free bar (serving hot drinks, fruit drinks and snacks), games consoles, art and crafts materials, a nail bar and board games.

Our £2,500 grant was used to support two of the Bar N Bus volunteer teams with the running costs in the Basildon and Laindon areas. The aim was to invite, engage, and build positive relationships with local young people aged 11-21 and to encourage them to think about and discuss any issues that they may have. The team of volunteers also helped the young people to find their interests, build up their confidence and self-esteem, and therefore give them a sense of self-worth.

The Basildon and Laindon buses have accommodated over 800 young people on board, helping to engage many local youngsters in the local area.

Carers Choices, Benfleet

Carers Choices was founded in 1981 to support carers in the local community. The charity ensures that carers are acknowledged for their unpaid work, that they have a voice, and that they receive support, understanding and respite.

Our £2,500 grant was used to fund Carers Choices’ Young Carers Cookery Club for 8-18 year olds in Basildon. The aim of the project was to provide young carers in Basildon with an opportunity to learn cooking skills and how to eat healthily. Due to the fact that these young people are looking after their parents from a very young age, and their parents are simply not able to teach them, they often miss out on these vital life skills.

Over the course of two school terms the Young Carers Cookery Club taught around 20 young people how to cook a variety of dishes including pizza, spaghetti bolognese, curry, stew, chilli con carne, cakes and desserts. It also taught the young carers about shopping for the right ingredients and the benefits of eating healthily. Our funding to support this project meant that young carers felt their energy levels raise, their confidence grow, and their general feelings of wellbeing improve. Furthermore, it also benefit the loved ones that the young carers are caring for as the carers were able to cook healthy meals for the family too.

Dagenham Bangladeshi Women & Children’s Association

Dagenham Bangladeshi Women & Children’s Association registered as a charity in 2011. Its main purpose is to improve the lives of disadvantaged local people by providing support with education, financial hardship and unemployment issues. The charity also works hard to promote social inclusion within the community.

Our £2,500 grant was used to support local 15-24 year olds in designing, delivering and managing a project to promote community cohesion and understanding. The funding helped towards the cost of a range of activities including a weekly youth club, a multi-cultural music event, a festival celebrating the International Mother Language Day, an interfaith discussion with guest speakers, sports coaching sessions, mentoring support sessions, and a community website.

From June 2015 these activities have helped to increase the opportunities for around 400 young people to meet regularly, understand and respect differences between peers, build relationships with members of the local community, share cultural learnings, reduce misconceptions and improve interfaith relationships.

Disability Resource Centre, Birmingham

Disability Resource Centre was established to empower disabled people to seek ways in which they can reduce or remove disabling barriers which prevent them from achieving their full potential, and to give them a voice. The group is committed to the principle that disabled people should be in control of their own organisation and thus at least 80% of the group’s directors are disabled.

Our £2,500 grant was used to fund a project called Facing Up to Disability Bullying, which aimed to raise awareness about bullying and harassment of disabled people and to improve understanding and empathy about the lives of disabled friends. The project consisted of 10 workshops from April 2015 to December 2015, lead by Disability Resource Centre’s training staff working alongside young disabled volunteers and which were delivered to around 150 both disabled and non-disabled 15-24 year olds from a diverse mix of cultures and faiths in the West Midlands. The workshops have helped them think differently about disability, and also about bullying in general.

Handsworth Carers Group, Birmingham

Handsworth Carers Group is a small voluntary multi-cultural organisation providing support to unpaid carers in the Birmingham area who are looking after a friend or relative that cannot manage without their help due to disability, illness, or the effect of old age. The group passionately believes in community cohesion and supports carers from a variety of faiths and backgrounds to make sure that their voice is heard and to prevent them from becoming isolated within the community.

Our £2,500 grant was used to fund Handsworth Carer’s New Generation project which involved young carers aged 15-25 in Birmingham’s inner city boroughs of Handsworth, Lozells, Aston and Ladywood. The aim of the New Generation project was to engage young carers at risk of long-term unemployment by providing training, employment support and mentoring - something which they may not have been able to access due to their carer responsibilities.

From June 2015 to October 2015 the New Generation project delivered job clubs with access to computers; pre-employment workshops which focused on interview techniques, effective job searching and support with completing job application forms; monthly career talks involving training and employment providers; and one-to-one mentoring, careers advice and support for further education grants. As a result of our funding, Handsworth Carers Group has helped around 50 young people achieve lasting transformation and to realise their full potential.

Lee Chapel North Helping Hands Job Club, Basildon

Lee Chapel North Helping Hands Job Club was set up in 2013 to provide a place for young people who have difficulty in accessing technology to look for work, training or education.

2015 was the third successive year that Lee Chapel was awarded funding towards their job club activities and in their most recent project they decided to concentrate on supporting young women. Since setting up the job club, the majority of users have been young men and an informal consultation revealed that there was a large number of young mothers under the age of 25 that didn’t like to attend with babies, toddlers or children because they felt that under fives may be disruptive to other users - and they had nobody to look after the children.

Our £2,500 grant was used to help bridge this gap by providing an on site crèche with qualified supervision for under fives, ensuring that young ladies aged 16-25 could access the job club facilities whilst feeling reassured that their child was being looked after properly very closeby. The group also used some of the funding to support the 'Lee Chapel North Job Club on Legs' or 'Pop-Up Service', where they took the job club to small groups of hard to reach young people who found it difficult to get to the usual base. This include young carers, young parents, young people who have very little confidence, or young people who struggled with depression. It is estimated that our funding support for the 2015 projects has benefit around 520 young people in the area.

Motorvations Project, Romford

Motorvations started working with young people involved in car-related crime and noticed a correlation between youth offending and non-attendance or exclusion from school. The group now works closely with schools and local authorities to identify children that have poor attendance or are at risk of permanent exclusion and they help by engaging them with their own alternative education programmes.

Our £2,500 grant was used to support a bike project involving local young people aged 14-18, with funding specifically helping towards the cost of buying parts, transport for distributing restored bikes, and a sessional worker to support the programme. The young people involved in the project were from a range of backgrounds but were linked by some degree of disadvantage in their lives, including special educational needs, physical disability, or a history of sexual abuse.

Motorvations has an arrangement with the Metropolitan Police whereby bicycles are given to the group after the police have received them following a crime or where they have been recovered and not collected. Young people involved with the project sorted the bikes, stripped them down and refurbished them so that they were good enough to be given to children who are known by social care services and are in need of a bike. Some bikes were also given to the local hospice to be sold to raise funds for patients in their care.

As part of the project the young people involved had to calculate material costings and make contact with other groups that may receive the restored bikes, which involved letter writing. If the bikes could not be repaired or restored to good condition, they took them apart to make various objects with the parts, allowing them to utilise their creative side. With our support, over 160 young people have engaged on this project.

Olio Hub, Darlaston

Olio Hub was formed in 2012 as a direct result of public consultation in the Darlaston area of the West Midlands which identified that local young people did not have a facility or any structured out of school activities for them to join in with. The hub is now also used by other community groups which host their own activities on site for the wider community to enjoy.

2015 was the third successive year that Olio secured funding and in 2015 the group used our £5,000 grant to further develop its music facility. Over the course of about nine months it added music equipment, sound proofing, and specialist equipment to the hub to enable local 8-25 year olds to learn about and take part in sound engineering, tuition and music recording all in one place. Workshops covering various aspects of the music industry were also delivered in the hub by qualified volunteers, meaning that young people experienced different types of roles within the industry and can make informed decisions as to which path they may wish to go down in terms of making music, and a potential career within the music industry. On average, around 35 local young people are using the facilities each week.

Sport 4 Life UK, Birmingham

Sport 4 Life UK exists to try and help change the lives of Birmingham’s most disadvantaged children and young people, including those with behavioural issues, criminal records, or lack of skills and qualifications. It believes that every young person has the inner potential to make a positive change in their lives and thus provides a helping hand through it’s sports-themed educational programmes.

Our £2,500 grant was used to run its FutureWise East project in the Washwood Heath ward of Birmingham - the city’s poorest ward with over 40% of 18-24 year olds being unemployed. The aim of the project was to provide a personal development and employability programme to NEET (not in employment, education or training) young people aged 16-24, with a particular focus on ex-offenders and the long-term unemployed.

The project consists of four separate 10-week programmes from May 2015 to April 2016, with each 10-week programme consisting of two days of delivery each week and targeting 12 young people. This approach ensures a focused, in-depth engagement and ensures they are given sufficient support to make real changes in their lives. The personal development workshops and sports activities included in the programme help build confidence and improve life skills, and employability training through CV writing clinics, mock interviews, volunteering placements, and formal training courses help prepare the young people for further education and jobs.

With our help, Sport 4 Life UK hopes to have a long-lasting impact by supporting 50 young people to re-engage with education, employment or training and to change their offending behaviour. As a result, those young people will reach their true potential and be able to contribute positively to society.

St Basils, Birmingham

St Basils was established in 1972 after it was recognised that there was no specific provision for young homeless people and it became clear that other more generalised hostels were frightening and dangerous places for the young. The charity provides accommodation, advice and support to young people in crisis to help them move on and lead successful independent lives and prevent them from falling in to the spiral of repeat homelessness and exclusion.

Our grant of £2,500 has been used for costs related to an accredited LifeSkills course which is available for 16-25 year olds living at St Basils. Around 80% of the young people at St Basils are NEET (not in education, employment or training) and the group recognised that there is a clear link between poor educational background and youth homelessness. The aim for this project was to re-engage them with education whilst supporting them with finding accommodation.

Over the course of a year, LifeSkills enables young people to build a portfolio of three modules relevant to their situation, which in turn helps them to develop key independent living skills in areas such as literacy, budgeting and healthy eating. Once the three modules are successfully completed they are then awarded an Open College Network Level 1 Award in Progression - an important step in enabling young people to return to education, and a real confidence booster in helping them realise that further education is an option for them.

With our funding St Basils was able to enrol and support five young people on the LifeSkills course. It is hoped that they will now become ambassadors to encourage other young people to take up learning opportunities which will increase the impact of this important project.

Urban Devotion Birmingham

Urban Devotion Birmingham was established in 2003 and exists to serve and support positive change in four neighbourhoods across North East Birmingham. Working with children, young people and their families, as well as primary and secondary schools, the group is invested in the development of self-esteem, raised aspirations and increased resilience.

Our £2,500 grant predominantly supported the costs associated with a weekly drop-in club for 8-11 year olds on the Wyrley Birch estate in Erdington, Birmingham. Some of the funding was also used to support the use of a Mobile Youth Venue (an old police riot van converted into a mobile youth centre), for sessions with 13-17 year olds in the area.

The drop-in club, which is held every Wednesday, delivers a personal development programme which includes activities such as cookery, sports, drama, and team-building. The Mobile Youth Venue sessions are held every Tuesday with the aim of engaging and developing relationships with the older group.

Through these two initiatives and with our funding support, Urban Devotion has engaged around 150 young people in their local area.

Wolverhampton Scouts (Patshull Campsite and Activity Centre)

Patshull is a Scout-led campsite and activity centre in Wolverhampton, run entirely by volunteers and provides both residential and non-residential outdoor learning experiences for children and young people.

The issue that the group had was that if their indoor accommodation was booked by one group visiting the site, any other groups were unable to access the indoor kitchen facilities. The alternative is that those groups then have to bring their own catering equipment, however Patshull recognised that some groups do not have access to that kind of equipment.

Our £5,000 grant is funding a new National Express Lodge within the site which will accommodate a ‘field kitchen’ and an undercover outdoor area, providing dining shelter which will be used by children and young people that are camping on site.

The group will involve young people that use the site to help construct the lodge and make them feel empowered about the project, seeing first hand what they have helped to achieve. Once completed, the ‘field kitchen’ will also be used as a training kitchen to help the young people learn how to cook simple but healthy meals, whilst teaching them a variety of other skills such as teamwork and good communication.

Approximately 2,600 young people visit the site each year, however with the new National Express Lodge providing additional facilities we expect that number to significantly increase.