LASS Secures Funding To Help Make The Big Society A Reality In The East Midlands.

LASS has secured funding of £49,000 from the Skills Funding Agency as part of the new Adult and Community Learning Fund, to help people living with HIV to get back into training, volunteering and work through personal development and skills and confidence building.

The Adult and Community Learning Fund, from the Skills Funding Agency and managed by NIACE, will contribute to the Government’s aspirations for Informal Adult and Community Learning. The fund will help build the Big Society through learning to support independence, personal development, mental/physical health and well-being, digital inclusion, democratic engagement, social cohesion and stronger families and communities.

The BOLD (Better Off Learning Directly) project at LASS will work with 32 people in the city, county and other regional centres. It will provide intensive eight week courses to help people build skills and confidence, as well as knowledge, to help them re-engage in education and work. Skills in managing their HIV status will also be a key part of the programme. After the eight weeks participants will also have the option to go on to further training as mentors, ‘expert patients’ (people who have enhanced knowledge as to how to manage their long term condition) and even to train as trainers of expert patients.

Jenny Hand, Chief Executive Officer of LASS, comments:

“LASS is delighted to be the only successful bidder locally for this funding. The opportunities BOLD presents for local people living with HIV are very exciting. Often people become isolated and experience significant loss of confidence when they are diagnosed with HIV. BOLD will help them regain their confidence and realise that today, with the proper care and self-management, they can live normal, healthy lives for many years to come.”

Geoff Russell, Chief Executive of the Skills Funding Agency, said:

“Each project that has secured funding from the Adult and Community Learning Fund will make a tremendous difference to the lives of individuals and to the communities they are part of. Skills and lifelong learning should be at the heart of every community and the Government is committed to making that happen with its vision for the Big Society.”

Carol Taylor, Deputy Chief Executive of NIACE, added,

“NIACE is proud to have the role of supporting Skills Funding Agency in managing the Adult and Community Learning Fund. The response to this bid has been staggering – we received over 2400 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.”

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