Across England the WEA has been successful with six bids to the Adult & Community Learning Fund. A diverse range of projects were approved as part of the Skills Funding Agency grants programme which is managed by NIACE. Bids were invited to maximise the contribution of community learning to the Big Society and engage and motivate disadvantaged adults.
The six successful WEA projects are in the North East, West Cumbria, Manchester, Stoke-on-Trent, London and the East Midlands. All the projects look to build the engagement of adults from disadvantaged communities in projects around a range of issues such as health improvement, advocacy, shaping services and learning opportunities and building confidence in community governance and leadership. There is a very strong local partnership theme in all the projects:
The Stoke-on-Trent project concentrates on health improvement with working men from Black and minority ethnic communities; West Cumbria will using local champions to build advocacy and services and learning opportunities for people with physical disabilities living in deprived areas; the North East project focuses on health volunteering; in Manchester adults from disadvantaged communities will use digital media to engage with the city’s cultural venues and design their own film, art and photography courses; the East Midlands project aims to inspire diverse women to become involved in voluntary leadership roles in Informal Adult Community Learning; The London project will help some of the most disadvantaged Londoners engage with and make connections between neighbourhood, local and London-wide governance in civic participation, adult learning and community-based sustainability.