Funding boost to support families hit by COVID-19

An Ark-led charity programme to support disadvantaged young people and their families whose lives have been hit by COVID-19 has secured a £4.75m funding boost from the Government. 
 
The Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has announced today that through its Community Match Challenge scheme it will match voluntary donations Ark and its partner organisations have received to fund a range of educational and social initiatives to address particular needs. 
 
The funding will provide increased access to digital home learning, specialist English and Maths catch-up teaching, and targeted mental health support for school children. It will also include educational and training opportunities for vulnerable and at risk young people - and provide basic necessities to families such as children’s clothes and equipment. The funds will help more than 33,000 young people and their families. 
 
Ark launched its Coronavirus Appeal earlier this year to raise funds for its work to support children and families recover from the worst effects of the crisis. 
 
Ark CEO Lucy Heller said: “We know that Covid-19 and its effect on learning over recent months has had a devastating impact on many children and their families, particularly those in disadvantaged communities. So, this funding is very welcome and matches the extraordinary generosity of all those who have already supported our Coronavirus Appeal. It will help us tackle the immediate needs of those most affected as well as addressing the long-term gap in education attainment that restricts the life chances of so many.” 
 
Further details of the programme will be announced by Ark soon. 
 
Ark will be working with a range of partner charities and organisations – including Ark Schools, Ark Curriculum Plus, Little Village, Whatever it Takes and Get Further - to deliver this programme as part of its wider commitment to ensure that all children, regardless of their background, have access to the best education and life chances. 

  • Little Village is a ‘baby bank’. It’s like a foodbank but for clothes, toys and equipment for babies and children up to the age of five. It supports around 6,000 children every year, through gifting on great quality pre-loved kit to London families who are struggling. 
  • Whatever It Takes was set up in 2019 with the aim of breaking the destructive cycle of children and young people committing crimes to ensure they make a positive contribution to society and rebuild better lives for themselves. 
  • Get Further provides catch-up tuition in English and maths to students in further education, helping them gain gateway qualifications and get further in education and work. 
  • Ark Curriculum Plus, home of Mathematics Mastery and English Mastery, provides coherent curriculum programmes and integrated professional development to empower teachers to give all students, regardless of their background, the subject knowledge and skills to succeed. 
  • Ark Schools is a network of 38 schools in the UK, in Birmingham, Hastings, London and Portsmouth. Each of those schools has its own distinctive character, reflecting its local community. 

Hear from two of the partners organisations working together to deliver Ark’s programme of support: