2019 second-round winners

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

Community awards 

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

Cannon Street Memorial Baptist Church - Birmingham

Cannon Street Memorial Baptist Church will use a grant of £10,000 to build on the success of their 2018 Foundation funded ‘Dads & Lads’ project by expanding participation in 2020.

Reverend Bryan Scott said: 

“Cannon Street Memorial Baptist Church’s ‘Dads & Lads’ Project provides positive male role models for disadvantaged and troubled boys and young men aged 12 to 18, from some of the poorest and most deprived communities in Birmingham, who do not have a father figure or a positive male role model in their life. 

Funding from the National Express Foundation will allow us to run a camping weekend in which the Dads & Lads participate in a range of team building, confidence boosting and communication enhancing activities. This is then followed by a series of regular weekly activities which give each young person the opportunity to develop a mentoring project with their surrogate ‘Dad’ to help them to achieve a tangible level of educational attainment and/or overcome a specific barrier in their life.”  

Gather Dudley CIC

Gather Dudley CIC will use a grant of £5,000 to establish a new community garden, creating a positive space for young people to enjoy right in the centre of the town.

Loraine Stockton, Director of Gather Dudley, explained:

"The National Express Foundation funding has given us the opportunity to organise the final steps of creating our Community Garden just off the High Street in Dudley. The space was previously derelict piece of land,down a medieval passage that had been used for anti social behaviour such as drug taking and worse.

“After discussions with local residents who live above the shops on the High Street, it was apparent that the families and their children had nowhere to meet up, play and be sociable. This space is being transformed into a positive, family and community oriented and beautiful part of the town, that residents can call their own, where their children can play and families can get together. The funding has made this a possibility and will have such an impact on local families, so we are really grateful for their generosity."

EmployabilityUK - Birmingham

EmployabilityUK will use a grant of £20,000 to widen participation to their ‘Inspiring Young Birmingham' (IYB) programme. The extended provision will allow people that may not have otherwise had the chance to prepare themselves for volunteer or paid job roles at the upcoming Commonwealth Games in the city.

Dianne Vernon, founder and CEO at Employability UK said:

“We are absolutely delighted that the National Express Foundation has awarded us this grant. It means that we are able to reach even more young people across the West Midlands as part of our 'Inspiring Young Birmingham' initiative.

“The programme will already see more than 1,500 young people from across the region become ‘Games Ready’: to volunteer or secure jobs created when the Commonwealth Games comes to Birmingham in 2022. Now, this funding will directly enable us to extend our programme to young people with ‘special educational needs’, ‘learning/behavioural difficulties’, ‘looked after children’ and the 'hardest to reach'.

“We are immensely grateful and will ensure that the opportunity to experience this transformational programme is extended to as many young people as possible.”

Coventry Youth for Christ

Coventry Youth for Christ will use a grant of £10,000 to fund their ‘Rock-up’ programme. The project is a unique combination of youth work, music tuition and mentoring sorely needed due to the closure of all Council-run youth centres and the end of free music tuition in schools. The funding will allow the group to double the capacity of the service from weekly one-hour off-timetable sessions for GCSE students aged 11-16 in two secondary schools to include 16-18 year old students in the same two schools and in two additional schools serving some of Coventry’s most disadvantaged areas.

Jon Mills, Director of Coventry Youth for Christ, said:

"The grant from National Express will enable us to take our project to the next level, investing in even more young people across the city through music and making a real difference.''

Hall Green Youth - Birmingham

Hall Green Youth will be using a grant of £5,000 to fund their ‘Just Chill’ after school club. ‘Just Chill’ responds to the need to provide a safe space for vulnerable young people, identified by two local secondary schools, community organisations and young people themselves. The group will provide weekly sessions consisting of developmental work and creative activities for young people, keeping them off the streets.

Sarah Barnes, Project Leader, said:

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

Maidstone & Mid Kent Mind

Maidstone & Mid Kent Mind will use a grant of £10,000 to train 120 young people to be Mental Health Champions. The qualification increases awareness around young people’s mental health but also serves to reduce stigma around mental ill health. The accredited qualification increases the knowledge and confidence of young people they can use throughout their career.

Julie Blackmore, CEO of Maidstone & Mid Kent Mind, said:

“We are delighted to have been awarded £10,000 from National Express Foundation to allow us to deliver MHFA Champions Course throughout the boroughs of Maidstone and Swale to young people aged 16 - 24 years. The one day programme teaches you how to identify when another young person might be experiencing a mental health issue and how to guide them to get the help they need.

Moseley Road Baths - Birmingham

Moseley Road Baths will use a grant of £10,000 to provide lifeguard training over two years to young potential lifeguards from the local Balsall Heath community. The programme will target NEET young people and candidates able to lifeguard single sex ladies swimming. The organisation are passionate about promoting an active lifestyle at a young age and providing skills necessary for employment which will have a hugely positive effect on the local area which is affected by high levels of deprivation.

Karen Leach, Chair Moseley Road Baths CIO, said:

"We are absolutely delighted with the award which will enable us to provide lifeguard training courses. This will have such a beneficial effect in giving young people a very valuable qualification and helping them gain confidence, willingness and skills for everyday life."

New Testament Church of God - Birmingham

New Testament Church of God, based in Highgate in Birmingham, will use a grant of £10,000 to fund their CAFE Project. The project will work with 36 teenage girls residing in and around the Highgate area for six months. The group twice a week and will also offer one to one sessions with participants once a week. The group will work to build self-esteem, self-confidence and social skills of participants with tangible life skill classes and activities to challenge the negative social pressures in the area such as gang membership.

Reverend Sheryl Mason explained:

"We are eternally grateful for the help we have received from National Express. This will go a long way in helping us give support to pregnant mothers. We will give them emotional support and motivate them to pick themselves up and make positive moves toward success."

Positive Youth Foundation - Coventry

The Positive Youth Foundation will use a grant of £20,000 to create three youth hubs in Coventry. The hubs will provide a range of innovative services and activities that have been designed to support young people who are refugees, asylum seekers or newly arrived in Coventry so they can integrate, settle and thrive in their new community.

Secondly, the organisation will use the hubs to support young people from Coventry's existing communities so they are better equipped to welcome newly arrived young people into their community. The hubs will work to unify host and migrant communities while also providing opportunities for young people to take part in activities that facilitate personal development and teach vocational skills.

Andrew Jack, Trustee for The Positive Youth Foundation, said:

"We are delighted to receive this grant from The National Express Foundation. The funding will provide safe environments for young people to develop important life skills and provide essential access to those who are newly arrived in the city to get involved in positive developmental activities. We thank The National Express Foundation for the opportunity to further our work in the area "

Springs Church - Birmingham

Springs Church will use a grant of £2,500 to support their GNZ youth club. The Church has an engaged group of volunteers offering a safe space for young people to belong, be encouraged to express themselves through youth club activities such as sports, creative activities and board games.

Sarah Owen, project leader, said: “We are extremely grateful to National Express for their support to our youth project ‘GNZ Friday Nights’. This funding will enable us to provide a positive environment, consistent relationships and loving community for 30 local young people every week. Providing them with a variety of activities, as well as youth workers who are available to support, encourage and motivate them. We believe this funding will have a huge impact on many young people.”

Tara Martins Community Project CIC - Medway, Kent

The Tara Martins Community Project CIC will be using a grant of £10,000 to fund their Uplift Medway project. The programme has been created to address the downward spiral effect of poverty upon young people. The group will offer 42 year 10 and 11 pupils in the Medway area an opportunity to improve their academic grades through group and one to one tutoring sessions, as well as fundamental life skill sessions over a 9 month period.

Tara Sobowale, project leader, explained:

"National Express has been extremely instrumental in helping us transform our community. Our current project for the years 10 and 11 will profoundly change the lives of our children and their parents"

The Cultural Connection - Birmingham

The Cultural Connection will use a grant of £5,000 to run training courses for NEET individuals aged between 18 and 24 years old to learn the necessary skills for jobs in the hospitality industry. The organisation will continue to work with the student until they have secured a job within the industry and will complete follow up sessions once in post to ensure sustainability.

Niquita Alexander-Pilgrim, Founder of The Cultural Connection said:

“The primary aim of our work with young people is to challenge attitudes, build emotional resilience and teach transferable skills that can be applied to daily life as well as employment. This grant will be of great assistance in helping us to offer young people an alternative solution from having to be exploited or engage in criminal activity as a way to gain money and we are excited to get started.”

The Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust

The Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust will use a grant of £20,000 to build on their John Muir Awards provision and supported volunteering programmes for young people at their two Eco-centres in inner-city Birmingham, Centre of the Earth in Winson Green, and EcoPark in Small Heath.

Gareth Morgan, Head of Education and Engagement, said:

“The Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust are thrilled to be renewing our work with disadvantaged young people with the help of the National Express Foundation. The award of £20,000 will enable us to develop our ‘Nature Academy,’ an exciting 8-week training programme in the urban natural environment that provides an accredited Level 1 qualification. 80 young people will take part in the programme, learning practical outdoor skills such as green wood-working, bushcraft, coppicing and species identification. The Nature Academy will give them the skills, knowledge and confidence to get out and explore their local environment, and will help inspire the next generation of urban conservationists.”

Young Enterprise - West Midlands

Young Enterprise will use a grant of £20,000 to deliver ‘Company Programme’, an employability based project where students set up and run a real student company with guidance from a dedicated business volunteer who brings a wealth of expertise and positions them as a mentor. The programme aims to develop the skills and attitudes to make young people more enterprising and employable in the future.

Chief Executive, Sharon Davies said:

“Young Enterprise is thrilled with the generous support from the National Express Foundation. We will run ten ‘Company Programmes’ to young people in the West Midlands, with a focus on the Black Country. ‘Company Programme’ provides a real-life learning opportunity that introduces young people to the realities of the world of work. This grant will give young people in the West Midlands the opportunity to develop essential employability skills such as teamwork, confidence and problem solving. We look forward to working in partnership with the Foundation and can’t wait to see how the students progress.”

Young Lives Foundation - Medway, Kent

The Young Lives Foundation will use a National Express Foundation grant of £10,000 to establish the National Express Life Skills Programme for young people in care. The programme will run workshops and positive activities to help these young people transition successfully to independent living. The organisation will invite speakers in and work with these care leavers to help them acquire practical life skills, discuss education and employment opportunities, encourage taking further qualifications, practise CV writing and interview techniques and promote healthy and safe lifestyles, as well as giving emotional and mental health support.

Stephen Gray, CEO, said:

“We are delighted to have received funding from the National Express Foundation and this will be used to deliver a training programme for care leavers across Medway. Many care leavers face barriers and obstacles and some start to live independently as young as 16, compared to the national average of leaving home at 24. This funding allows the Young Lives Foundation to provide valuable training on life skills and help many young adults develop the skills they need to face the pressures of living alone at such a young age. We are so grateful and can’t wait to get started!”

Educational institution awards 

In our second-round bursary programme for 2019, we awarded two new bursaries of £10,000 per year to two educational institutions.

University of Bath

The University of Bath will use a grant of £12,000 per year for three years to support four students from low income and low participation backgrounds to progress in their studies and in later life. Research shows graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds go on to earn less than peers from high-income families, even when studying the same course, in the same place.

Working to redress this balance, the University deliver a comprehensive enrichment programme alongside grants. Students have access to alumni mentors, are helped to find beneficial summer internships and provided opportunities for personal development such as a 50 hour volunteering commitment in the local community.

Professor Ian White FREng DL, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Bath said:

“Talent is not, and should not be, limited by background; The National Express Foundation Scholarships will improve access to a world-class education for bright students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Queen Alexandra College - Birmingham

Queen Alexandra College is an independent specialist college of further education based in Birmingham for students above the age of sixteen with visual impairment, autism and other disabilities. The college will use a grant of £10,000 for three years to support students enrolled on their supported internship course. Students that study and work part time will be encouraged to apply for bursaries allowing them to fund their own specialist equipment and resources allowing them to participate in internships and studies that may not otherwise have been possible.

Jan Gormley, Deputy Principal said:

“QAC supports young people with disabilities on their journey to independence and being awarded this grant is fantastic news for our Student Internship programme and will make a huge difference. Our Student Intern numbers have increased recently and this money will be used to provide them with equipment and resources they need to not only get the most out of their internship placements, but also help equip them with the skills and confidence they need to enter the workplace beyond their time at QAC”