The Impact of Community Grants

15th October, 2020

At Futures, we support communities, people and businesses to be the best they can be, and one of the ways we do this is through Community Grants.

Jointly funded by the Education and Skills Funding Agency and the European Social Fund, Community Grants give small voluntary and community organisations access to funds of between £5-20k so they can deliver projects to support their local community to gain new skills and progress towards the labour market.

Like countless organisations across the UK, many of the groups we’ve been working with have been severely impacted by Covid-19. We’ve been so impressed to see how hard they’re working to adapt and develop new initiatives so that they can continue to offer valuable services and support to communities across Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire.

“Unemployment is expected to rise and these programmes can really help make a difference in providing a route to employment and apprenticeships. We’ve had an excellent response despite very challenging times for some of these small organisations.” Claire Penny, Community Grants Manager

We’ve been working closely with the Community Grants groups throughout the Covid-19 crisis, providing as much information, advice and support as possible to try to minimise the impact of lockdown. Here are just a handful of the incredible organisations we’ve been working with this year, and what they’ve been up to.

High Ashes Rural Project CIC (North East Derbyshire)

High Ashes Rural Project aim to empower their people through developing long-term practical skills and self-confidence. They build a community and learn and develop countryside crafts such as dry-walling and fencing. This also help to build communication skills and team-working ability. As this is a hands-on course, the Covid-19 crisis and lockdown have made delivery challenging. Learners are completing workbook at home whilst still having regular contact.

Community Growth CIC (North East Derbyshire, Chesterfield, Derbyshire County Council)

The Community Growth CIC are working with a group of people, all of whom have mental health conditions and are long term unemployed, with a view to moving them along the employment pathway. The group has been met with significant challenges due to Covid-19.

Normally, all of their sessions would be outside delivered with everyone together. The group are being creative in their approach and are supporting individuals to find out what they can do move themselves closer to their goals without actually meeting. Online training has been key to this. The group is hoping to take a new strategy in relation to their next phase, where they will start to post and email new creative challenges to keep learners engaged and motivated.

The Derby Bosnia Herzegovina Community Association (Derby City)

This project is aimed at migrants that have come to the UK and have been awarded refugee status, to help educate and prepare them for work and life in the UK. Using existing relationships and links they aim to increase skills and confidence of their people. Due to Covid-19, teaching and learning had to be paused, but as of 4th May 2020, the group has started a small class where all precautions and health and safety measures have been put into place.

Nottinghamshire Clubs for Young People (Nottingham City)

This program allows vulnerable young people to gain greater independence and help them to make informed choices about volunteering and employment; empowering them to take greater control over their lives.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the group had completed 7 weeks face-to-face with their current cohort, covering topics such as communication, teamwork, health and safety, emotional resilience, aggressive vs assertive, and leadership skills.

Whilst they haven’t been able to meet face to face for some time, they’ve been keeping in touch via email, calls and texts, and have all completed work on adaptability, CV writing and transferable skills related to their experiences, and an English assessment.

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