Mercer – Learn & Share project secured funding of £50,000 from the Skills Funding Agency as part of the new Community Learning Innovation Fund, to train and develop local volunteers so they are able to cascade their knowledge and skills to other community members.

The Community Learning Innovation Fund, from the Skills Funding Agency and managed by NIACE, will contribute to the Government’s objectives for community learning. The Fund will deliver new and creative learning opportunities, particularly for disadvantaged people to support social and economic well-being, digital inclusion and stronger families and communities.

Proffitts worked alongside Mercer House 1842 Ltd, a community enterprise, who works with volunteers to tackle the issues the local community face every day.  Supporting a One Stop Shop and delivering community services, this funding will enable a Community Development Officer and Volunteer Co-ordinator to be employed to further support local volunteers, identify training pathways and community learning opportunities.

Proffitts will continue to have involvement, helping to steer and manage the project.

Nick – Director of Mercer House 1842 Ltd said,

“We’re absolutely delighted to receive the funding.  We have a fantastic team of volunteers here and we will be in a better position to support them.  Through the community learning we can help volunteers and their communities get back into work, improve their health and living environment – all areas where as a community we’re currently not doing very well”

Verity Hancock, Skills Funding Agency Executive Director, Capacity and Infrastructure, said, “The response to the new Community Learning Innovation Fund has been phenomenal and the Skills Funding Agency is pleased to be able to support these innovative projects that meet the needs of local people.  By making it easier for disadvantaged people to learn new skills and access training and support, they gain new opportunities to improve their lives, building stronger families and communities in the process.”

Carol Taylor, Deputy Chief Executive of NIACE, added:

“NIACE is proud to have the role of supporting the Skills Funding Agency in managing the Community Learning Innovation Fund. The response has been staggering – we received over 2200 bids. Deciding which of the projects should receive funding has been incredibly tough, however this means that the very best projects will be starting work soon and transforming the lives of local people and local communities.”

Good luck to everyone iinvolved in the project!