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Opinion30th November 2021

How funding boost helped our Ventures reach those most in need this year

Our ventures share updates on how funding from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s Community Match Challenge scheme helped them support their communities during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ark Curriculum Plus fast tracks digital content for teachers

Through the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) funding, Ark Curriculum Plus supported Mathematics and English Mastery (two of its curriculum and teacher training programmes) to digitise their resources and give teachers the training tools and resources.

Liz Tyler, Managing Director, said: “With the DCMS funding, we were able to launch a new digital platform for Mathematics and English Mastery in less than a year, which meant we could keep supporting schools during the lockdown. Since March 2020, 9,168 teachers in 565 schools have accessed training and resources through the new online portal. More than half a million pupils were given the best chance of catching up on missed learning through this. The digitised format of the resources and training will now be a permanent offer. Students will continue to benefit from the adaptations to the curriculum designed to fill any gaps in their knowledge.”

The programmes have been well-received, with one teacher saying: “Several times I’ve come out of a training session, and it’s blown my mind….”

Get Further helping to close the English and Maths attainment gap

Get Further has an award-winning tuition programme that closes gaps for students from disadvantaged backgrounds in further education.

With money from DCMS, they expanded their operations to reach 1,000 students – ten times more young people than in the previous year – placing highly qualified, specialist English and maths tutors in further education to deliver a bespoke curriculum that builds confidence and skills in these core subjects.

CEO Sarah Waite said: “70% of students studying GCSE English and maths in further education are from disadvantaged backgrounds. Without these qualifications, they are significantly more likely to drop out of education and are locked out of key professions, apprenticeships, and university courses. The grant funding that we received last year enabled Get Further to expand to support more young people with the shortest amount of time left in education to gain the strongest possible set of qualifications to set them up for further study or work.”

Little Village provides the essentials to families going through tough times

Little Village is a baby bank, providing essential items like nappies, cots, clothing and toiletries to families going through tough times across London. Founded in 2016, it has grown to become one of the largest baby banks in the UK.

CEO Sophie Livingstone explains how the government funding helped the charity serve more families: “We supported 5,186 children through a combination of remote deliveries and distanced site visits from families. Despite a loss of volunteers due to home-schooling, the charity adapted its operations to reach families in their homes. Since October, over £1m worth of donated goods have been received.”

As one mum who received help from Little Village states: “When I got support, I was crying. The anticipation of getting any help at all was overwhelming. And then the selection of items I got was amazing. The clothes were clean and in great condition; outfits weren’t mismatched. My children didn’t have to be dressed in stuff that showed I needed help. They didn’t have a label saying, ‘my mum needs help’. ”

SHiFT helps to break the cycle of crime

SHiFT works with children and young people caught in the destructive cycle of crime or associated behaviours, where things are getting worse, not better. At the heart of SHiFT is the ‘Breaking Cycles’, which focuses on the individual, not the problem, using flexibility and tenacity to tailor the work to each child.

Feedback from children involved in the programme shows how support from their Guide has helped them achieve progress in educational outcomes. “My Guide helps me get my voice heard. He understands what I am saying; he just gets me when others don’t. SHiFT has supported me each time I have had to go to court and has kept me calm. The funding provided a valuable contribution towards the initial model development. This enabled the launch of their second pilot in Greenwich in June 2021 (the first having launched in Kingston and Richmond in January 2021).

SHiFT is now working through the mobilisation phases, with two further areas expected to launch in Spring 2022. Each Practice works with 20-25 children. Over the next two years, SHiFT plans to scale up to at least ten practices nationally, reaching up to 250 children.