Over 3,000 young people are to benefit from £300,000 worth of funding from the National Express Foundation.

The charity, which aims to support disadvantaged young people, has so far committed over £300,000 in 2019 to support community groups and educational institutions, with another round of funding awards to come later in the year.

The Foundation recently announced that 17 community groups and two educational institutions have been successful in securing funding from the first round of awards.

Combined with multiyear projects funded in previous years, over 3,000 young people are set to benefit from National Express Foundation funding in the first half of 2019 alone.

The charity’s community group grants are awarded to grass-roots community groups or charities that need financial support with the delivery of positive, developmental activities for youth in the community. The Foundation’s aim is to help others to engage young people and steer them away from becoming involved in anti-social behaviour and crime, whilst also offering opportunities to build new skills which will boost their employability skills.

Educational grants are awarded to colleges and universities that propose bespoke programmes to support disadvantaged young students with costs during their studies.

Birmingham & Solihull Women’s Aid will use a grant of £10,000 to fund the ‘You First’ programme. The programme aims to build resilience, wellbeing and life chances of young women aged 16-24, affected by or at risk from domestic and sexual violence.

Sally Dennis, Operations Manager, said:

“We are delighted to have been awarded a grant from the Foundation to support our work with young women in our refuge and the community. Many of the young women have low self-esteem as a result of experiences of abuse, have been told they were worthless, and not received the help they needed. With this funding, they will take part in a range of activities and sessions designed to help them find a sense of self, purpose and position by exploring what matters to them and what they want for their future.”

The Stonehouse Gang will be using a grant of £5,000 to fund activities for local young people tackling issues such as gang culture, knife crime and sexual health whilst also developing local ‘community champions’. The voluntary organisation are based in Birmingham, serving the Stonehouse estate, Weoley Castle, Quinton and Bartley Green, all defined areas of high deprivation where the support offered is vital.

Rob Green, Leader at The Stonehouse Gang said: “Five thousand pounds for a small charity such as ours makes a massive difference. It allows us to carry on our work with young people who have no voice in society and nowhere else to go. The Stonehouse Gang were one of the first to lose funding through third sector funding cuts at the beginning of austerity and every year we face an uphill battle to remain sustainable.

“Funding from the foundation will help us to combat issues affecting our young people, making sure their club remains open, empowering, supporting and being a positive influence through one of the most pressured and stressful times of their lives”

Anthony Vigor, Chairman of the National Express Foundation, said:

“We are proud of the support we’ve been able to provide for young people in the communities that we serve. The £500,000 that the National Express Foundation have committed this year means we are able to support the largest group of young people since our launch.

“Our grants help groups deliver fantastic developmental activities for young people and also those who might not otherwise have the means to continue with their studies in further and higher education. This additional funding means we can help even more local young people succeed in life.”

The 19 new grants made by the Foundation in 2019 are:

  • Halesowen College – £20,000 (over two years)
  • University of Birmingham – £30,000 (over three years)
  • Balsall Heath CATS, Birmingham – £10,000
  • Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid – £10,000
  • D.I.M.E. Studios CIC, Birmingham – £2,500
  • Smethwick Youth & Community Centre – £10,000
  • Sport 4 Life UK, Birmingham – £10,000
  • Sport Legacy Foundation, Birmingham – £10,000
  • The Stonehouse Gang, Birmingham – £5,000
  • ConnectEd Partnership, Wolverhampton – £10,000
  • Engage Trust UK, Wolverhampton – £2,500
  • Heaven’s Kitchen, Dudley – £20,000
  • Kids In Communication, Walsall – £20,000
  • Let Us Play, Wolverhampton – £5,000
  • Sandwell Community Hubs – £20,000 (over two years)
  • Longford Short Football, Coventry – £10,000
  • Voluntary Action Coventry – £10,000
  • Woodies Youth Centre, Medway – £10,000
  • Young Women’s Trust, Kent – £10,000

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