Home Business NewsBusiness Seven London community organisations set to receive a share of £1m from NatWest

Seven London community organisations set to receive a share of £1m from NatWest

by LLB Reporter
7th Jun 17 4:20 pm

Here’s why

Seven London-based not-for-profit organisations will benefit from a share of £1m, as NatWest reveals the winners of the latest round of its Skills & Opportunities Fund.

The diverse and inspiring organisations come from across the capital and support London’s disadvantaged communities in a variety of ways. The winners are Action West London,the Afro-Brazilian Arts & Cultural Exchange Institute, Age UK East London, IARS International Institute, Islington People’s Rights, Urban Development and West London Mission.

They were among almost 600 organisations from across England & Wales that applied to gain funding for community projects. The NatWest Skills & Opportunities Fund was set up in 2015 to create opportunities for people in disadvantaged communities to gain qualifications, find work or start a business. Since then, over £3.9m has been distributed to good causes in England & Wales through the Fund.

Phil Northey, chair of NatWest’s London regional board, said: “Supporting London’s not-for-profit community organisations is a crucial part of our commitment to making a real, long term difference for the capital’s disadvantaged communities. It’s a real privilege for all of us at NatWest to be able to support such a diverse, innovative and inspirational group of projects through the Skills & Opportunities Fund.

“Since we launched the Skills & Opportunities Fund two years ago, the projects we’ve funded in London have so far made a positive difference to more than 8,000 disadvantaged and at-risk people. This includes supporting 132 new business start-ups, helping 537 people get into employment and another 997 achieve professional qualifications. In addition to the funding we will also look to partner with each winner through mentoring, volunteering and advice.”

Here’s a snapshot of the diverse and innovative projects that the NatWest Skills & Opportunities Fund will be helping to sustain in London this year:

  • Action West London is a registered charity and social enterprise which helps individuals improve their lives through employment, education and enterprise. Their project Skills for Enterprise and Business will train disadvantaged people to develop their entrepreneurial interest and potential.
  • The Afro-Brazilian Arts & Cultural Exchange Institute (ABACEI) runs educational programmes for disadvantaged members of the community to promote social inclusion and skills development. The grant they receive will fund their Focused Financeproject, which will use the arts and performing arts to give young people the opportunity to set up their own business.
  • Age UK East London work with older people and carers in the City, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Newham. With the support of the NatWest Skills & Opportunities Fund, their programme Financial Capability in Newham, will provide those aged 50 and over in the local area with the information, support and skills to help them organise their finances effectively.
  • IARS International Institute is recognised as one of the world’s leading user-led institutes and acts as an international network on the matters of youth, equalities and justice. With the support of the funding, their Skill Up – Skills for Young Social Entrepreneurs Youth Social Entrepreneurship project will develop and pilot a new, innovative and youth-led course for prospective social entrepreneurs and set up a local employer network.
  • Islington People’s Rights is a leading provider of specialist debt and welfare benefits advice and casework in Islington. Their NatWest Skills & Opportunities Fund grant will allow them to improve the long-term money management skills and financial awareness of the most vulnerable people in their local community with their programme IPR’s Financial Skills for Life.
  • Urban Development is a music-development charity providing a pathway in popular music for disadvantaged young people. Their Industry Takeoverproject will provide intensive training and industry-supported mentoring for 80 disadvantaged young people, as well as enterprise and careers seminars for a further 800.
  • West London Mission provide social care services that improve the lives of some of the most disadvantaged people in London. The funding they receive will support their Money Champions programme, which dovetails with their existing services so that they can encourage the vulnerable people who access their support to live independently and improve their financial capability.

You can find out more about these organisations, as well as the rest of the 32 winning organisations in England & Wales, and how their inspiring projects will be making a difference in communities by visiting: http://skillsandopportunitiesfund.natwest.com/winners/

Quotes from the winning organisations:

Dr John Blackmore, chief executive of Action West London, said: “The NatWest Skills & Opportunity Award will help us expand our work to help bring together young people and adults from our diverse communities to improve their life chances through learning about self- employment, business and enterprise opportunities. As well as training and support we will be able to offer practical experience running stalls at our thriving Acton Market social enterprise.”

Mestrando Je, programme director for the Afro-Brazilian Arts & Cultural Exchange Institute, said: “The Afro-Brazilian Arts & Cultural Exchange Institute has been allocated a grant of £3,000 over one year for a training programme that will give the chance to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to become martial arts teachers, get support and guidance in starting their own businesses and/or work in social projects that will further benefit other disadvantaged members of the community. The project aims to increase the young people’s self-esteem and help them overcome the challenges of starting a new career.” 

Larissa Howells, director of services for Age UK East London, said: “We are delighted to be working with the Natwest Skills & Opportunities Fund to deliver this project and make a huge difference to the financial capability and independence of older people living in Newham.”

Dr Theo Gavrielides, founder and director of the IARS International Institute, said: “The unstable political, economic and social environments have hit young people the hardest. As we look positively into the future, this timely project supported by NatWest will challenge stale thinking while directly empowering some of the most neglected youth to pursue their entrepreneurial skills. It is not often that we see this trust in youth-led project ideas, and for this we are grateful to the Skills & Opportunities Fund.”

Gerard Omasta-Milsom, chief executive of Islington People’s Rights, said: “Islington People’s Rights (IPR) is delighted that we are to receive funding from the NatWest Skills & Opportunities Fund to deliver the Financial Skills for Life Programme. This will provide financial education targeted at the most vulnerable individuals and groups in our local community. We will be focus on those most at risk of becoming financially excluded due to mental illness, other disabilities, homelessness and other factors, and will improve long term money management skills and financial awareness.” 

Pamela McCormick, founder and director of Urban Development, said: “We are delighted to have won this crucial funding from the NatWest Skills & Opportunities Fund to support our work as a talent pipeline for a core demographic of 14–25-year-old BAME and underprivileged young people.  In the face of cuts to education spending, this ad
ditional funding will enable us to expand our Industry Takeover programme and develop a new music business course.  Acting as an incubator, educator and live events producer, we will provide a powerful educational infrastructure not freely available to the future urban music stars from disadvantaged communities.”

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