2018 second-round winners

Read below to find out more about the groups and projects that we’re supporting with our second-round funding.

Educational institution award 

In our second-round bursary programme for 2018, we awarded two new bursaries of £10,000 per year to two universities.

Birmingham City University

Birmingham City University is using funding of £10,000 per year for three years to support 10 students each year (30 across the three year bursary programme) with a retention, attainment and graduating (RAG) bursary for new and existing students who are from care, or for those that have been estranged from parents and forced out of education due to financial pressures because there is no-one or nowhere to turn to when they need help.

The provision of bursaries for these vulnerable groups will assist in retaining students, rewarding their progress and to assist them to graduate or to secure more permanent accommodation for those at risk of homelessness.

Sharon Atkinson, Birmingham City University said:

“The award from the National Express Foundation is without a doubt, exceptional support that will be used to assist our students from care who have made it to university, have financial challenges and have no one to turn to. We would like to express our gratitude to the Foundation as we know how much this will help our students.”

Coventry University

Coventry University is using funding of £10,000 per year for three years to support 10 students each year (30 across the three year bursary programme) that are care leavers or that have a disability; two underrepresented groups in higher education.

Recognising that these two groups may need more support than their peers, the university will also offer further support in the form of more personal careers guidance through ongoing mentoring support.

Ian Dunn, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Coventry University, said:

“We are delighted that the National Express Foundation has supported us once again. As a University we are committed to supporting all our students so that they have the best experience possible while they are here with us. We recognise that some students face more challenges than others so these bursaries will support two groups who are significantly underrepresented in higher education.”

Community award 

Read below to find out more about the groups and projects that we’re supporting with our second-round funding.

Aptitude Organisation CIC, Coventry

Aptitude Organisation CIC was established in January 2017 and works with young people, children and families by engaging them in activities which support their personal, social, and emotional development. The group supports young people on many areas of life including relationships, bullying, personal safety, child sexual exploitation, healthy lifestyles and substance misuse. It helps young people to get involved in activities which promote community and family cohesion, offering volunteering opportunities and peer to peer programmes which encourage active citizenship.

Our £10,000 grant is being used to train 60 young people aged 13-25 in a Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) peer mentoring programme. Working in partnership with West Midlands Violence Prevention Alliance and local police, it will provide training to support young people to be calm and provide effective ways to challenge abuse and bullying. The funding will also support new volunteers aged 18-25 to be positive role models and provide safeguarding training for volunteer youth peer mentors. Volunteers will attend local events that are popular with young people to support the police with violence prevention, helping to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in the community.

Tara Foster, Aptitude Organisation, said:

"Aptitude Organisation are passionate about empowering young people to be confident in ways they can help reduce youth violence. Through the Mentors in Violence Prevention Programme model Aptitude Youth Workers will be able to train young people to feel supported and safe in their communities, giving them essential skills to know when help is needed and how to do this in the right way."

Coventry Boys and Girls Club

Coventry Boys and Girls Club has been established since 1935 and became a charity in 1997. As an organisation, it offers youth club sessions, outreach work in Canley, Tile Hill, Manor Farm and Willenhall, and a mini-bus service that transports young people to the club’s centre from different areas around Coventry.

Our £20,000 grant is supporting the group to increase its youth club provision by 50%, meaning the club can run sessions on six nights a week compared with three. The doubling of sessions means that 150 young people aged 15-24 will be able to attend and enjoy the youth club activities. The sessions include a range of activities such as sports, music production, dance and social space. In addition, the funding is also supporting the club to help young people with their personal development by offering guidance on achieving in school, securing employment or finding training.

EmployabilityUK, Wolverhampton

The mission of EmployabilityUK is to facilitate employer engagement to enhance the aspirations, opportunities and career prospects of young people. As an education charity, it works with schools, colleges, youth organisations and employers to understand needs and aspirations, offering employability skills training with practical experience. The group’s aim is to help improve the employability skills of young people, raise their confidence and help prepare them for the workplace.

Our £10,000 grant will support the group with providing employability skills training to over 75 young people aged 16-18, from a range of backgrounds and ability levels in West Bromwich, Sandwell and Dudley. The focus is on raising aspirations, confidence and work-readiness, with an emphasis on coaching which will find the (often hidden) potential in those young people involved in the project.

Diane Vernon, Chief Executive, EmployabilityUK said:

"We are delighted to announce our brand new partnership with National Express Foundation. As a result of their generosity we will be delivering first-class employability skills programmes to young people at schools in Dudley, Sandwell and West Bromwich, in Spring 2019. Not only will this directly benefit more than 75 young people, many more students will hear from speakers from National Express and other businesses from across the region."

Friends of Tividale Park, Oldbury

The Friends of Tividale Park Group aims to improve facilities in the local community and helps to organise and

develop a range of community activities and events to bring people of all ages together. Monthly meetings are held that are attended by various partners such as local police and although Tividale Park is the focus of the group they support wider projects and initiatives to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in the area.

Our £5,000 grant is helping the group with a community cohesion project to engage 100 young people within an anti-social behaviour hotspot in Oldbury. It is being run between local school children in partnership with the local police team and small businesses in the Oldbury area that provide workshops with a view to developing, confident, tolerant, respectful and aspirational young people in the community. The project aims to break down community barriers and misconceptions as well as help local young people to develop an understanding of how to make the most out of living and working in the area.

Hall Green Youth, Birmingham

Hall Green Youth was established in 2006 in response to a lack of activities for young people in the area. It aims to identify and meet the needs of young people, increase their confidence and improve understanding between generations.

The Foundation supported the group in 2016 by providing funding towards a Just Us Girls group, providing a safe and and positive environment for 11-18 year olds to take part in activities such as arts, cooking, drama and team building workshops.

In 2017 the group used a £2,500 grant towards a new mixed-gender after school club and drop-in at a community hall that was on many young people’s journey home from school and also on a main bus route, making it easily accessible. It provided positive activities for young people, with the first hour being a drop-in for up to 20 11-18 year olds who wanted to drop in on their way home from school, and the second hour delivering a structured programme of activities including arts, cooking, physical activity, drama and team building. The young people named this club as Just Chill.

Our £5,000 grant in 2018 supports the continued development of Just Chill. The project has evolved and benefits vulnerable young people identified by two local secondary schools, community organisations and young people themselves. Just Chill sessions provide a positive, safe, fun space where 35 young people aged 11-18 have the opportunity to form and build new relationships, take part in activities that will build their confidence in a positive environment and either learn new skills or develop and improve the skills that they already have.

Sarah Barnes, Hall Green Youth, said:

"We are delighted to have received further support from the Foundation. This will have lasting benefits for young people by enabling us to provide a safe, fun space where young people can participate in activities that will build their skills and confidence.”

Handsworth Wood Youth Group, Birmingham

Handsworth Wood Youth Group was set up in June 2012 with the help of our Foundation. It was created following the Birmingham riots which involved youths from Handsworth Wood after it identified that local young people were bored and lacked motivation to do much other than spend their time on the streets. The primary focus of the group is to engage young people in positive activities as well as community events to help break down barriers and promote community cohesion.

Our £2,500 grant in 2018 is supporting the group with costs associated with engaging over 30 young people aged 15-24 in its weekly sports activities as well as monthly youth talks that include guest speakers that bring up and discuss issues in the local area, such as drugs and gangs.

Jamshed Mohammed, Handsworth Wood Youth Group, said:

“Without the National Express Foundation funding we would not be able to do all the local community youth work we do. The grant makes such a difference for us.”

Krunch UK, Oldbury

Krunch aims to help young people discover “who they are, what they want to be and how to get There”. It delivers an accredited personal development and life skills programme to children and young people aged 9-25 years, with a focus on improving emotional health and wellbeing and identifying a young persons’ unique potential to maximise their life chances. The group also aims to reduce barriers to education, employment and training by providing a range of services including alternative education, one-to-one mentoring services, group workshops, and open access youth work within a multi-agency framework.

The Foundation supported Krunch in 2014 by providing a £2,500 grant to deliver workshops to 12 students in two schools. The workshops centred on community cohesion by encouraging students to work on their experiences and feelings by breaking down barriers and perceived differences.

Our £20,000 grant in 2018 is funding a new project called KEY Women - Krunch Empowering Young Women. The project will improve the emotional health, wellbeing and life chances of 22 females aged 16-19 years and will include young girls involved in or around risky or exploitative situations and people. It includes peer group support and positive activities as well as ongoing community volunteer opportunities for those involved, helping to develop confidence. The aim is to empower young ladies to become more self-aware about their personal choices, safety, aspirations and what healthy relationships can look like.

New Park Village Activities Network, Wolverhampton

New Park Village Activities Network was set up in 2005 following a shooting on a local estate. At the public meeting that followed residents said that they needed more activities for their young people to help reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in the area. The group provides a number of activities to engage young people, giving them a sounding board and a safe place to meet with other young people outside of a school setting.

Our £20,000 grant is supporting the group with a new project called Future Aspirations. The project engages 120 young people aged 14-24 in weekly sessions, providing help and support centred around training opportunities and employment choices including apprenticeships, job searching skills, CV writing and interview skills.

William Nicholls MBE, New Park Village Activities Network, said:

"We are delighted that the National Express Foundation has been able to provide funding to support us. It will enable us to deliver the skills and specialist advice to young people concerning career opportunities and has the potential to change many young lives in Wolverhampton.”

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.

The Foundation has provided support for the group since 2013 due to the innovative way in which the group uses our funding to continually deliver engagement activities for local young people.

Our £20,000 grant in 2018 is being used to further develop activities at the hub for the growing number of young people involved. Six small projects that had previously been piloted and well received by young people at the hub are being supported by our 2018 funding award. This means 375 young people aged between 7 and 25 can enjoy the different activities which include Born to Perform, Boxfit, Perfect Pitch, Loco Acadamy, Stretch & Flex, and Funky Fusion.

Sandra Adams, Olio Hub, said:

“Words cannot describe how excited we are to have been given further support by the National Express Foundation. It will help us go forward with bringing our exciting new plans into fruition.

“Olio really has been put back on the map by the National Express Foundation and we are so grateful for the continued support. Our community will certainly be a better place for the new activities.”

Opportunities with Experience CIC, Gravesend

Opportunities with Experience strives to break down barriers by supporting women who would like to work within the construction trades sector. It offers courses in interior decorating/CSCS card training, which includes working towards a Level 1 award in Health & Safety in a Construction Environment and the Health Safety & Environment test to apply for a CSCS Green Labourers card for work on a construction site.

Our £5,000 grant is being used to help tackle the low attainment of 16 women and young mums aged 18-24 who would like a career in the construction industry. The group’s workshops aim to provide a practical and inspiring learning experience for those women and young people who wish to ‘have a go’ at a trade, helping them to develop their skills and confidence before pursuing a career in construction.

Angela Steele, Opportunities with Experience, said:

“Receiving this grant from the National Express Foundation helps OWE CIC open once closed doors to young women and mums who are considering becoming qualified tradeswomen in the construction industry. 16 women and young mums will really have opportunities from their experience.”

Recre8now, Birmingham

Recre8now was established in 2011 and recognised that those who presented challenging behaviours often responded well to active methods of engagement and that many young people embraced this creative way of working. The group has worked with over 4,200 young people since 2011, 40% of whom were in education and 60% of whom were in prison and rehabilitation orders.

Our £10,000 grant is being used to train 15 young ex-offenders aged 15-18 to become community peer mentors. The young people will be referred via Birmingham Youth Offending Service, Time Out Community Centre in Nechells and West Midlands Police. The aim is to help peer mentors develop new skills which enable them to talk to and support other young people who are at risk of offending in their communities and to prevent further offending. It helps those involved to be given a sense of purpose and increase their self-esteem and confidence as they will be able to help steer other young people away from making the same mistakes they made. After training each peer mentor works with local schools in the community to provide direct support to other young people. Overall we expect this project to support and engage around 300 young people.

Daniela Varley, Recr8now, said:

“We are delighted to have been recognised by National Express Foundation for the work that we do. The funding will help change the lives of 15 young people who have limited opportunities.

“By giving financial support to community organisations, the National Express Foundation is helping us change young people’s lives by empowering them and giving them the skills to fulfil their potential.”

Swale Gloves Amateur Boxing Club, Sittingbourne

Swale Gloves Amateur Boxing Club was established ten years ago as young people within the local community had little to do in the evenings. The club has helped people involved, or at risk of becoming involved, in crime and anti-social behaviour to turn their lives around and has positive role models that are visible examples of how to be good member of the community, resist peer pressure, and avoid harmful activities.

Our £2,500 grant is being used to support the club with new equipment and increasing participation by offering new sessions and targeting new members.

John Williams, Swale Gloves Amateur Boxing Club, said:

“Being awarded National Express Foundation funding is great news for our club. It is helping us to provide better facilities for our existing members and also allows us to offer more spaces to young people within our community.”