The National Express Foundation, a charity that helps disadvantaged young people, has today announced a total of £242,760 in community grant and educational bursary funding awards to support local young people across our city, the Black Country and Kent.

£70,000 of the total amount awarded has been donated to groups and universities in Birmingham alone, which is an increase on the £57,500 donated within the region last year.

Since it was launched in 2012, Foundation funding has already helped over 14,000 young people. This year’s funding is expected to benefit a further 2,000 young people by supporting them with the cost of their studies and also helping groups to deliver educational and developmental activities for youth in the community.

Cannon Street Memorial Baptist Church in Birmingham secured a £10,000 grant to support their Dads and Lads project, with the aim of providing positive male role models for 25 disadvantaged boys and young men aged 12 to 18 who do not have a father figure or a positive male role model in their life.

Activities supported by Foundation funding include confidence boosting workshops, the development of communication skills and weekly sports, arts and music workshops. Those involved will also have the opportunity to develop a mentoring project with their surrogate ‘Dad’, with the aim of helping them achieve a tangible level of educational attainment or overcome a specific barrier in their life.

Reverend Bryan Scott, Minister at Cannon Street Memorial Baptist Church, said: “I would like to thank the National Express Foundation for supporting the work of Cannon Street Dads and Lads project. The funding is truly appreciated – we promise to make a difference in as many young people’s lives as we can, in 2018 and beyond.”

Aston University has also secured a new £10,000 bursary to support 20 students with living expenses whilst undertaking unpaid healthcare placements. This is in addition to Aston’s final instalment of a previous three-year bursary to support 30 young unpaid adult carers during their studies.

Dominic Riordan from Student and Academic Services at Aston University, said: “The grant from the National Express Foundation will be used to support a number of students from low income families who are undertaking year-long unpaid placements as part of their studies within the School of Life and Health Sciences.

“The individual awards given to these students, studying healthcare-related courses such as Psychology, Audiology and Biomedical Sciences, will be used to supplement living costs while living and working away from Birmingham.

“Aston University is delighted to have been awarded a grant from the National Express Foundation and looks forward to working together in the future.”

Anthony Vigor, Chairman of the National Express Foundation, said: “We are delighted to announce the National Express Foundation funding awards for 2018. Over £240,000 of funding will help deliver even more positive and developmental activities for local young people and help those who might not otherwise be able to continue with their studies in further and higher education.

“We are very proud of the support we’ve been able to provide for young people in the communities that we serve and we look forward to working with this year’s grant recipients to develop the skills and activities that will help local young people succeed in life.”

£160,260 of the total funding has been awarded to 14 community groups across Birmingham, the Black Country and Kent.

The full list of community groups to benefit from the Foundation’s community grant funding in 2018 are:

  • Balsall Heath CATS, Birmingham: £5,000

  • Cannon Street Memorial Baptist Church, Birmingham: £10,000

  • Essex Avenue Community Tenants and Residents Association, West Bromwich: £20,000 *over 5 years

  • Heart and Soul Community CIC, Wolverhampton: £10,000

  • Gospel Oak Community Centre, Birmingham: £10,000

  • Kids In Communication, Walsall and Wolverhampton: £20,000

  • New Heights Warren Farm Community Project, Birmingham: £5,000

  • New Life Resource Centre CIC, Walsall: £10,000

  • Sheppey Matters, Kent: £10,000

  • Smethwick Youth and Community Centre, Smethwick: £10,260

  • Tara Martins Community Project: £10,000

  • The Vine Trust Walsall, Walsall: £20,000

  • The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country, Birmingham: £10,000

  • Walsall Creative Factory CIC, Walsall: £10,000

Five other colleges and universities receiving the second and third year installments of their annual bursaries are Birmingham City University, Coventry University, University of Warwick, University of Wolverhampton and Walsall College.

Three community groups are also receiving a combined £12,500 in their final year instalments of previous two and three year grants. These are Olio Hub in Darlaston, Lee Chapel North Helping Hands in Basildon, and Holding On Letting Go in Kent.

For full details of the respective projects and bursary programmes supported by Foundation funding this year please visit www.nationalexpressgroup.com/foundation