Sub-contracts are available to not-for profit organisations to deliver learning opportunities for disadvantaged Reading residents. The fund comes from the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) and is being administered by Reading Borough Council (RBC).
The purpose of the fund is to support local Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) organisations to deliver learning opportunities to specific disadvantaged groups. Programmes should target groups of learners to widen participation and encourage progression. Learners should be low skilled aged 19+.
New Directions leads the Reading Community Learning Network (RCLN). The network currently has 36 member organisations. The network is independently chaired. Any organisations wishing to join the network should contact Jill.firstname.lastname@example.org.
RCLN member organisations offer a varied range of targeted and universal learning opportunities and employment support to different groups in Reading.
Terms of reference for RCLN are:
To enable a strategic, co-ordinated and collaborative approach to the planning and delivery of adult learning for the benefit of adults and families in Greater Reading
- To empower individuals/volunteers to understand what learning is and the opportunities it presents.
- To improve the planning and joint targeting of funds to disadvantaged and priority groups of learners.
- To widen participation in adult and family learning.
- To map Community learning and identify gaps in provision.
- To discuss and influence policy for the delivery and monitoring of funded Community provision in and around Reading.
- To promote best practice in adult and family learning by providing a platform for reviewing activities and highlighting concerns.
- To develop an Adult and Community Learning Plan for Reading which involves providers of Adult Learning sharing good practice and quality improvement activities.
- To ensure that there is a clear relationship between the partnership and the delivery of local sub regional strategic partnerships.
- To engage as wide range of agencies and organisations in thinking about the activities they offer as learning.
- To review collective performance over the year in ensuring there is a wide range of high quality, challenging and inspiring Community provision locally, and begin to form a view on the impact and social and economic value of such provision.
- To monitor and discuss the success of the reforms using national and local indicators and begin to consider a range of local indicators.
Community Learning includes learning for personal development, cultural enrichment, intellectual or creative stimulation and enjoyment. It also includes learning developed with local residents and other learners to build the skills, knowledge and understanding for social, economic and community benefits in order to improve employability.
Current members include:
Berkshire Autistic Society (BAS)
BAS is an established charity providing targeted services for all ages of people with autism, their families, carers and professionals working in the field. Services include a daily helpline, regular newsletters; social and leisure activities.
Compass opportunities aims to support its service users towards increased mental well-being enabling them to realise their own potential, cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively and enable them to contribute to their own community.
GRAFT Thames Valley
GRAFT TV is a charity which targets job seekers with disabilities to improve their employability skills. GRAFT provides information, advice and guidance to disabled and disadvantaged groups who are looking for employment and work related opportunities.
Mapis Project CIC
Mapis Project CIC works with Young People aged 13-25 and Women from disadvantaged areas - unemployed, underachieving in education, in and out of care, ex-offenders, disabled, carers, domestic violence victims, ethnic minorities and women with self-harming issues, mental problems or eating disorders. They offer practical courses in Fashion, Beauty and Design which lead towards employment.
The British Red Cross
The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. They are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies. The organisation helps and supports vulnerable people in Britain and abroad to prepare for, or withstand and recover from emergencies in their own communities. One of the programmes they offer is Everyday First Aid, the content of which is specifically targeted to the needs of an organisation/learning group. Within Reading they will be targeting older people and people from BME communities where there is a recognised health inequality.
Utulivu women’s concerns
Utulivu means ‘patience’. They are a Kenyan organisation that works with women and children to promote healthy living and to integrate into the wider community. They welcome women and children from other countries who are resident in Reading and surrounding areas. Utulivu organize events throughout the year which aim at addressing isolation, stress and depression and in addition aim to increase/encourage participation and raise self-esteem amongst the members.
Auto Skills is managed by Groundwork South (a registered charity), in order to make a positive difference to the lives of people in Reading and the surrounding areas. Auto Skills offers a programme of Motor Vehicle Mechanics training available to young people from the age of 12 (in particular NEETs) and are embarking on a new programme for adults. This programme is aimed to attract men in particular the over 50’s. This course could be the very first steps towards sustained employment/self-employment for those interested in the motor vehicle repairs trade.
Reading Community Learning Centre (RCLC)
RCLC offers universal education and support targeted towards the most disadvantaged and socially isolated women in Reading from black and minority ethnic communities. Many of the women have had little or no previous educational experience and feel unable to attend mainstream establishments because of the cultural, economic and personal barriers they face. Most do not speak English and often they are not literate in their own language.
Readipop is an arts organisation offering universal engagement through the use of digital technology, exploring music, sound, image and beyond. They currently run a targeted over 60’s programme and a musical heritage projects targeted towards younger people.
Together UK (Reading Your Way)
Together is a national charity which targets people with mental health issues by supporting them on their journey towards an independent and fulfilling life. They offer a wide variety of support to help people deal with the personal and practical impacts of mental health issues from one to one support in the community to supported accommodation and making sure people understand and are able to express their needs in their dealings with official bodies.
Workers Education Association (WEA) Reading Branch
The WEA Reading Branch is a voluntary organisation. They offer a universal cultural arts programme which consists of a range of daytime one day workshops and short courses.
Drug and Alcohol Team (DAAT – RBC)
Help families adapt to changes in their life due to substance abuse. One of the courses they run is called Just what you need!
Reading Sport and Leisure (RSL – RBC)
Reading Sport & Leisure offers sport and leisure in 4 venues across Reading. Regular activity can help you look good and feel great. They programme a range of regular activities for all ages. They run engagement sessions encouraging people to try various fitness disciplines and promote the merits of exercise for improving fitness and stamina or maintaining fitness and stamina. They tailor activities to ages of learners for example seated exercise is offered to older learners who may have had knee/hip replacement surgery or are suffering with other ailments that prevents them taking part in more vigorous exercise.
Reading Children’s Centres (RBC)
The ‘core purpose’ the children's centres is based on improving outcomes for young children and their families, with a particular focus on the most disadvantaged families. The aim is to reduce inequalities in child development and school readiness supported by improved parenting skills and improved child and family health life chances. Working in partnership across professional and agency boundaries is also a key principle which underpins all activity. The Reading Children Centre’s offer a range of parenting courses including Webster Stratton and Share Plus and Family Matters informs the parents how to deal with minor medical difficulties. Each cluster advertises a termly programme of structured activities which enables the parent(s) to spend quality time with their child and encourage continuation at home.
New Directions administers the Neighbourhood Learning in Deprived Communities (NLDC) fund for Reading and annually commission’s voluntary and community organisations to help deliver learning opportunities to around 2,000 individuals.
In addition to RCLN we also work with a number of other council services:
Reading Sport and Leisure (RSL)
RSL offer a range of regular exercise programmes and taster sessions to encourage people to start exercising. There are 5 centres based around Reading featuring specialist facilities and resources to run this type of universal provision.
Parental Substance Misuse Service Team
This team provide targeted services to Parents and Carers with emotional difficulties, addictions, and traumas. The team help parents to meet their own emotional needs and those of their children.
13 Children Centres, in 5 cluster groups - East, West, North, South and Central based in and around Reading offer targeted support to families to help improve outcomes for children and families. They provide universal and targeted family learning opportunities.