National Express Foundation announces £100,000 for local youngsters
The National Express Foundation, set up to help disadvantaged young people across the region, has announced the very first community groups and colleges to receive funding.
In the first wave of charitable awards the foundation will provide £100,000 to assist 48 young students across the West Midlands progress to higher education and hundreds of kids enjoy new activities, equipment and training at community groups across the region.
The Foundation was overwhelmed with over 100 applications from community groups and colleges across the region. Trustees of the Foundation including Ladywood MP Shabana Mahmood agreed to make awards to six local community groups and three educational institutions.
The next round of funding will open for applications early next year. National Express encourages groups who were not successful this time to apply again, there were many great entries that the foundation would love to support in the future.
Anthony Vigor, Chairman of the Foundation, said:
"We are delighted to announce this support for local students and community groups. The funding will support many exciting projects across the West Midlands. I look forward to seeing these projects in action and hope the funding will make a real difference."
Grants totalling over £30,000 has been awarded to the following groups:
Aston Sports and Community Group. Funding will help to run activities at youth hubs in Aston for local youngsters after school and during holidays.
Matt Kendal, Director, said: "It's been a hard couple of years in Aston for youth provision, with youth clubs and services being cut, but this award from the National Express Foundations means we can revive some of the hard fought youth work we had in the past, and to build some new work to engage more young people as they enter their mid teens."
Handsworth Wood Youth Group. Funding will help set up sports activities and provide social and personal skills development for young people in the Handsworth Wood area.
Jamshed Mohammed, Group Leader said: "This award will give our local youth an opportunity to take part in regular activities, meet new people and build a sense of community. It lets us run events which keep them engaged and divert them away from trouble."
One Aim Mix Studio. Funding will help to run a gang awareness programme and stage drama workshops with inner-city Birmingham youngsters.
Brian Read, Centre Manager, said: "This support will serve as a great positive injection and powerful contribution into the local community. The funding will add as an incredible addition to our organisation and the local young people that will benefit from out work."
Sport4Life. Funding will help to launch football courses in Ladywood and volunteer placement for two NEETs.
James Forrest, Manager, Sport4Life said: "We are very grateful for the generous support of the National Express Foundation, and following on from a successful London 2012 we look forward to use the funding received to change the lives of underprivileged children and young people in Birmingham through the power of sport."
Three Faiths Forum. Funding will help to pair schools between the West Midlands and East London to aid better understanding of young people from different communities and backgrounds.
Stephen Shashoua, Director of the Three Faiths Forum, said: "National Express's vital donation enables connections between faith schools, creating safe enjoyable spaces, for children of diverse beliefs to build stronger communities."
Urban Cycles. Funding will help to teach young people road safety as well as provide new bikes for group activities throughout the region.
Andi Smith, Urban Cycles community enterprise Director, said "Funding provided by the National Express Foundation has enabled dozens of inner city young people to radically improve their lives, raise their aspirations and be the best that they can be. We are profoundly grateful."
The National Express Foundation is has also awarded funding for bursaries to local educational institutions:
South and City College Birmingham. 20 students will benefit from individual bursaries to help fund living costs while they stay in education. The bursaries are worth £20,000 over two years.
Mike Hopkins, Principal of South and City College said: "The National Express Foundation reflects everything South and City College Birmingham believes in; helping young people advance their education and improve their futures.
"We are incredibly grateful for this support which will allow us to give young people in financial difficulty bursaries to help them stay in further education and help them get the jobs and careers they want."
Stourbridge College. 20 students on resource intensive courses such as construction, arts and sport will benefit from individual bursaries. £20,000 will support bursaries over two years.
Lynette Cutting, Principal at Stourbridge College, said: "We're delighted that Stourbridge College has been successful in its bid for the Student Bursaries Programme. Any additional financial support whilst studying is a bonus and will help students to realise their goals and assist families who are endeavouring to support them. It is wonderful to see one of our major, local employers contributing assistance in this way and we're looking forward to working with the Foundation to deliver a successful programme."
University of Birmingham. Eight students from West Midlands most deprived areas will benefit from bursaries worth £30,000 over the next three years.
Gail Rothnie, Head of Outreach, said, "The University of Birmingham is delighted to be working with the National Express Foundation. The Access to Birmingham (A2B) scholarship gift will be of enormous benefit to the students who receive it.
Most A2B students are the first person in their family to go to university and their parents are often not able to provide any financial support to students while they studying."