Today we are in the hugely exciting position of announcing our success in being awarded a grant of £1.12m by the Department of Communities and Local Government.
This is to run a brand new project to support long-term UK residents with little or no knowledge of English, by offering a variety of engaging, informal and flexible English language learning opportunities, together with mentoring in essential skills such as IT, employment and access to health and other services.
This is a huge project. We’ll be recruiting and training 70 volunteers to support around 1,300 residents – many of them women – in practical language skills that will enable them to do vital, everyday things like visiting the doctor or communicating with their children’s school. Our volunteers will train other volunteers, so that way we’ll build in sustainability.
And it’s a vital project. 60% of people believe that not speaking the language is the biggest barrier to integration.
We’ve called it ‘Talking Together’ because quite simply, using our innovative volunteer-led model, its goal is to empower people to talk together, to be part of the wider community and to flourish and develop in the environment in which they live. Our project will be based in the Midlands – adding to our already flourishing projects in the area.
It is simply fantastic news for TimeBank and the very nature of the bid (which includes an enhanced version of our social franchise model originally developed for our very first mentoring programme Time Together) shows that we have constantly learnt and evolved as an organisation. We know just how much volunteers can and want to deliver given an interesting, challenging and well managed opportunity to do so.
It shows that our reputation for delivering quality, innovative and impactful projects on time, to target and on budget is not only intact but soaring! Those of you who regularly read our blog will know that TimeBank has had a challenging couple of years – but we’ve focussed on what we’re good at, continued to deliver what we say we will and believed passionately in what we were doing and the importance of supporting our beneficiaries. Today’s news only endorses this belief.
We have many people to thank for helping us on our journey so that we were able to pitch for such an ambitious project including our staff team, trustees, volunteers and funders so a big shout out to all of them. There is of course much to do to get a project of this size and complexity off the ground and we’ll be working hard in the coming weeks to do so. I’ll keep you regularly updated as we do - but today we might just allow ourselves a little celebration!