National Express announces £500,000 funding opportunity for local young people

March 8, 2019
Young people across the West Midlands and Kent could benefit from a share of £500,000 funding from the National Express Foundation.

Young people across the West Midlands and Kent could benefit from a share of £500,000 funding from the National Express Foundation.Since its launch eight years ago, the National Express Foundation has committed a total of £1.5 million to help young people. To date, our support for community groups, colleges and universities has impacted the lives of more than 17,600.

This year, the Foundation will distribute £500,000 to ensure young people have access to positive activities within their local communities and have the means to continue with their education.Applications are now open for local educational institutions and community groups to bid for grants.

The Foundation previously invited local community groups to bid for grants of £2,500 or £5,000. This year groups are once again encouraged to bid for larger amounts of £10,000 or £20,000 to support sustainable projects that provide beneficial and developmental activities for young people in deprived areas.Educational establishments are also eligible to make a bid for funding. Local colleges and universities can also apply for grants of £10,000 per year towards innovative bursary schemes that help students from disadvantaged backgrounds continue in further or higher education.

To be eligible, groups or educational institutions must be based within the West Midlands, or within Kent’s ME1-ME12, ME14, DA3, DA11, DA12 or DA13 postal codes.

Applications for funding must be received by Thursday 18 April 2019. However the Foundation will also be running another funding program later this year.Kids In Communication, based in Walsall and Wolverhampton, used a £20,000 grant to support their social impact program. Through learning and applying new skills in photography, digital citizenship, web development and audio production, recording and editing, 99 young people aged 8-18 achieved awards demonstrating their commitment, development and engagement with their course.

Rob Smith, chief executive officer of Kids In Communication, said:“KIC are absolutely delighted to be working in partnership with the National Express Foundation. The funding support enabled us to continue to deliver positive activities and recognize the achievements of many young people in Walsall and Wolverhampton. This charitable support is a vital lifeline for smaller organisations and really helps local communities.”

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 program) that are care leavers or that have a disability; two underrepresented groups in higher education.

Recognizing 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 recognize that some students face more challenges than others so these bursaries will support two groups who are significantly underrepresented in higher education.”

Gospel Oak Community Centre in Birmingham used a foundation grant to support diversionary activities to prevent young people becoming involved in crime and anti-social behavior. Our £10,000 grant has supported 35 teenagers take part in weekly sessions. The funded scheme encourages participants to engage in enterprise and positive social action in their community via volunteering and work experience opportunities.

Dave Crathorne, centre manager for Gospel Oak Community Centre, said:“Receiving this grant from the National Express Foundation meant we were able to continue to support the young people in and around our community centre. We were able to offer each and every participant the life chances they would not have had access to without this funding.”“Our community craves cooperation and cohesion and the opportunities that this project provided meant we were able to deliver positive results and empower our young adults to make a positive difference in our community.”

The Tara Martins Community Project aims to help young, single, homeless people secure accommodation, jobs, education or vocational skills to enable them to sustain independent lives within the community. With a £10,000 grant in 2018, the group’s one-year work experience and work placement program engaged 100 young unemployed people aged between 18 and 24, providing them with valuable skills and experience for future employment. The program helped improve their self-confidence, get back into further education or jobs, and live happy, healthy and independent lives. As a result, some of those young people supported by the project have stayed with the group and now regularly volunteer to help others.

Tara Sobowale from the Tara Martins Community Project, said:“We would like to say a huge thank you to the National Express Foundation for supporting our 2018 work experience program. It was designed to enable the increasing number of young unemployed people get into work and training and follows on from the previous youth engagement program which was also made possible by a grant from the National Express Foundation.

Anthony Vigor, chairman of the National Express Foundation, said:“We are extremely proud that over the last seven years, the National Express Foundation grants have helped over 17,600 young people to enjoy positive and engaging activities and helped them to gain qualifications and learn new skills. Last year we ran two funding rounds for the first time and were able to support 3,400 young people in 2018 alone. We are really pleased to run two application rounds again this year with our increased funding commitment of £500,000. We’re absolutely thrilled that this money will help even more local young people in the communities that we serve. I would urge all local educational institutions and community groups to submit an application for funding.”