South Ribble Children and Young People's Trust commissioned Aspire. This is working with families to raise aspirations and reduce levels of poverty by increasing the numbers of families engaging in learning opportunities.
Aspire has various levels of entry to better support parents to access adult education, training, support learning and consult with parents on their learning needs through a multi agency approach. It has strong support from Adult education providers such as Lancashire College, and Runshaw College with commitment to joint working and sharing of resources as well as linking to the Lancashire Poverty Strategy.
Adult user's benefit from a range of courses carefully designed to improve their economic well-being, fostering their confidence through achievements and leading to accredited courses, volunteer work and in some cases, degree level training and paid employment. Some parents and carers have been supported towards Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications in childcare. The provider's of Aspire are committed to developing economic independence and parent volunteers are trained in first aid and safeguarding, and one parent is currently organising a child protection course for other centre users. There was a single parent family, living in private rented accommodation receiving full housing benefit, due to mum's circumstances she could not afford to send her child to nursery, and was very reluctant to seek employment as she felt she would not benefit financially. Mum struggled week to week with finances but understood the importance of her child being able to access play opportunities.
What worked well...
Mum enjoyed attending the children's centre and often helped the staff to set up, tidy away and support new parents. Through this mum took on a more active role volunteering as a parent helper, she was always interested in the planning of the groups and how each session supported the children's learning she was able to encourage, support and empathise with new parents and felt she had gained new confidence in herself.
Mum became interested in the Aspire programme which is displayed in the centre and approached a member of staff about it, she explained how interesting she had found all the planning and the activities she supported in the group and would like to train in childcare, she confided in the member of staff that she had always been put off study because she struggled with English.
Mum was showing interest in going back to work but felt she wanted some form of qualification. So she enrolled on the NVQ2 programme in childcare and also the Literacy level 2 course. Mum was extremely grateful to discover a free child place was available whilst she studied.
Mum has successfully gained her NVQ level 2 qualification in childcare and level 2 literacy.
Throughout her study mum has been dedicated because she has always wanted to support her child and herself financially. Throughout her study mum found herself a placement in a local playgroup and has since successfully secured a job with them. Mum has now enrolled on a level 3 childcare and is very proud of her achievements.
Throughout the Aspire courses mum has been overwhelmed by the support and experiences both her and her child have been able to have. Mum is pleased that she is no longer totally dependent on benefits and her self esteem has grown. Mum commented 'I am now able to give something back to society after everything the centre has helped me with'.
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