Charities win share of new NatWest community fund

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Two Portsmouth charities have each scooped a share of a new £2.5 million fund set up by NatWest.

EBP South and Learning Links (Southern) have been awarded £25,345 and £34,944.05 respectively.

This award from NatWest is going to make a significant difference to a number of young people in our area, giving us the opportunity to work with them to develop much-needed employability skills and in particular confidence.

Cath Longhurst, chief executive of EBP South

EBP South sought the funding for its Learn, Excel, Aspire Project (LEAP), which aims to increase the employability of young people in deprived areas.

It will use its award to run LEAP in four secondary schools in deprived areas and benefit at least 80 young people aged 14 to 16.

Learning Links (Southern) provides one-to-one action planning, mentoring and training, helping people to break down barriers to achievement and set and reach goals.

The charity applied for funding to help 70 health-challenged, long-term unemployed people in deprived areas of Ports-mouth and the Isle of Wight, to develop and achieve their aspirations to become 
self-employed or start their own businesses.

The charities are among six not-for-profit organisations around NatWest’s South West region who are receiving a share of the bank’s Skills and Opportunities Fund. The winners were chosen from more than 1,000 applicants nationwide.

Cath Longhurst, chief executive of EBP South, said: ‘This award from NatWest is going to make a significant difference to a number of young people in our area, giving us the opportunity to work with them to develop much-needed employability skills and in particular confidence.

‘We really hope that participating in this project will empower them to reach their potential.’

Zoe Gray, chief executive officer of Learning Links (Southern), said: ‘We have been waiting for some time for the opportunity to support this overlooked group of people who aren’t able to access the support they need to set up their own businesses and become self-employed.

‘Thanks to this NatWest funding we can now give them access to good quality start-up help in addition to our one-to-one mentoring, which will give them the greatest chance of achieving their ambitions and improving life for themselves and their families.’