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A bigger role for communities in inspiring young people

Published 8 April 2009

Young people will get extra encouragement to unlock their talents as part of a £10m Inspiring Communities initiative, Communities Secretary Hazel Blears announced today.

The Government's New Opportunities White Paper argued that social mobility has improved in recent years. Some 600,000 youngsters have been lifted out of poverty in the last decade. The proportion of young people from lower income families going to university has gone up.

However, the White Paper also recognised that in some deprived areas, young people are less likely to aim high. They do not always make the link between doing well in education and doing well in life. Low self esteem, low aspirations and limited horizons can act as barriers to success.

What happens in schools is crucial to addressing underachievement, but a child's sense of what they can achieve is influenced by factors beyond the school gate. Lack of inspiration or support from friends, families or peers can all play a part.
 
Inspiring Communities is about investing in locally conceived, locally delivered projects that will get whole communities standing behind the talented young people in their midst and make sure that communities play a bigger part in fostering and investing in that talent.

Communities Secretary Hazel Blears said:

"Sometimes a young person can't get the breaks they deserve or don't have a sense of what's out there for them because the people around them fail to see their potential. We need to turn this around.

"The communities where young people live should not hold them back; they should be the source of inspiration and practical support that will help them to achieve. This programme is about getting all the people in communities who want the very best for their children and for their area to work together to make the difference."

Inspiring Communities will support people in deprived communities to develop innovative campaigns and activities designed to raise the achievement of young people, broaden their horizons and build up self esteem. The programme is designed to put local people - parents, neighbours, businesses, teachers, voluntary groups and councils - in the driving seat to harness their collective knowledge, energy, resources and enthusiasm to boost the aspirations and achievements of young people.

Beverley Hughes, Children and Young People's Minister said:

"This is a great opportunity for parents, businesses and everyone who works with young people to come up with ideas to engage and benefit the young people in their communities. We know most young people are doing well and working hard at school, so I am delighted that this initiative will give them the chance to demonstrate their skills and talents and the valuable contribution that they can make to their communities."

Funding will be made available to up to 15 neighbourhoods (comprising between 5,000 and 10,000 residents) who will receive up to £450,000 and expert help over the next 2 years to design and deliver projects and activities that will:

  • Break the cycle of generational underachievement by broadening young people's horizons and experiences - this could include volunteering programmes, youth led projects, visits to university campuses, theatres and museums, support for young people to undertake work experience placements;
  • Provide advice and inspiration to young people about the routes they can take into training, work experience, employment, further and higher education;
  • Raise parents' aspirations and self confidence so that they can support their children to make the most of opportunities available to them;
  • Draw on the talents of the whole community and beyond in order to expand social networks. For example by twinning with communities from different parts of the county or country, or encouraging local people to make a "community pledge" to support and encourage local kids.

Minister for the Cabinet Office, Liam Byrne said:

"The world economy will double in size in the next two decades, creating one billion jobs for skilled workers. We are working to ensure British people can seize the opportunities of this new global age. The Inspiring Communities project is designed specifically to raise the expectations of young people in 15 communities so that they can make the most of their potential and turn aspiration into success. We are making sure that Government acts together so everyone can achieve their potential over the decades to come."

Only deprived neighbourhoods within 64 local authorities will be eligible to apply for funding, with the final 15 Inspiring Communities selected from applications which must be on behalf of neighbourhood partnerships. The initiative is intended for neighbourhoods where low aspirations have been identified as a barrier to young people achieving their potential.

As a minimum partnerships must feature the local authority, local secondary school(s) and local third sector organisations. However, the involvement of young people, parents and the wider community, local business local youth services, and other relevant service providers is strongly encouraged, so as to bring together as many people and organisations who can help kids on the road to success as possible.

The areas that become Inspiring Communities will each have a Community leader who will be the champion and public face of the campaign, galvanising support and ensuring that it delivers its objectives.

Inspiring Communities is a joint initiative from Communities and Local Government, the Department for Children Schools and Families and the Cabinet Office. It has also secured support right across government, with a further 11 government departments committed to encouraging ambitious and creative work locally.

Notes to editors

1. The Inspiring Communities Grant Programme Information Pack for Applicants is available at  www.communities.gov.uk/publications/communities/inspiringcommunities. This information pack sets out the aims and intended outcomes of the programme, the model for designing and delivering the Inspiring Communities programme locally (including details of funding and wider support), who may apply and how applications will be assessed.

2. Inspiring Communities was first announced in the New Opportunities White Paper, published in January 2009, which is available at www.hmg.gov.uk/newopportunities.aspx (external link)

3. Inspiring Communities is a response to the joint Social Exclusion Taskforce/Communities and Local Government/DCSF short study into the 'aspirations and attainment of young people in deprived communities' published in December 2008, the evidence pack for which is available at www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/social_exclusion_task_force/short_studies/aspirations.aspx (external link).

4. Deprived neighbourhoods within the following upper-tier local authority areas will be eligible to apply:

  • Barking and Dagenham
  • Barnsley
  • Birmingham
  • Blackburn with Darwen
  • Blackpool
  • Bolton
  • Bradford
  • Bristol, City of
  • Calderdale
  • Coventry
  • Cumbria
  • Darlington
  • Derby
  • Doncaster
  • Durham
  • Gateshead
  • Greenwich
  • Hackney
  • Halton
  • Haringey
  • Hartlepool
  • Islington
  • Kent
  • Kingston upon Hull, City of
  • Kirklees
  • Knowsley
  • Lambeth
  • Lancashire
  • Leeds
  • Leicester
  • Liverpool
  • Manchester 
  • Middlesbrough
  • Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Newham
  • Norfolk
  • North East Lincolnshire
  • Nottingham
  • Nottinghamshire
  • Oldham
  • Peterborough
  • Plymouth
  • Redcar and Cleveland
  • Rochdale
  • Rotherham
  • Salford
  • Sandwell
  • Sefton
  • Sheffield
  • South Tyneside
  • St. Helens
  • Stockton-on-Tees
  • Stoke-on-Trent
  • Sunderland
  • Tameside
  • Torbay
  • Tower Hamlets
  • Wakefield
  • Walsall
  • Waltham Forest
  • Westminster
  • Wigan
  • Wirral
  • Wolverhampton

5. Eligible upper-tier local authorities are where 10 per cent or more of the Lower Super Output Areas (statistical units of average 1,500 population) in a local authority area are in the most deprived 10 per cent in England on the Index of Multiple Deprivation 2007 or 20 or more Lower Super Output Areas within the local authority area are in the most deprived 10 per cent in England on the Index of Multiple Deprivation 2007.

6. Inspiring Communities encourages radical models of local partnership working, including the pooling and aligning of budgets between partners and gives participating neighbourhoods the opportunity to negotiate with government about any freedoms and flexibilities that would remove barriers to delivering the sorts of services that local people believe will make the most difference to helping young people achieve their potential.

7. The deadline for applications is 3 June 2009. We will announce successful neighbourhoods as soon as we are able, within a maximum of 12 weeks from the closing date.

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