Headlines: March 16th, 2009

A project is being launched to help five million families in England to benefit from family learning practitioners. The scheme, known as The Big Impact, aims to improve the quality of support for family learning practitioners by developing and improving training materials.

It will also see the introduction of a mentoring scheme and hopes to improve the skills associated with sustainable funding for voluntary and community sector organisations. It is being run by the National Family Learning Network through its lead partners the Campaign for Learning, the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education and ContinYou.

Money for The Big Impact is coming from the Big Lottery Fund over the next three years through its Building and Sustaining Infrastructure Support programme. A range of organisations will benefit from the project including those working with families to deliver children’s services, bodies promoting community cohesion through regeneration, and those using a family approach to health improvement. Local authorities working in partnership with voluntary and community sector organisations will also benefit from support under the project.

Juliette Collier, who is head of family learning at the Campaign for Learning, welcomed the Big Lottery’s funding and added, “This recognises the central importance of family learning in tackling inequalities, raising aspirations and enhancing community cohesion.” For NIACE, Penny Lamb, its project director for family learning said there were many exciting family learning activities taking place across the country in a wide range of settings and the new funding would help in raising their profile. She added, “We are also delighted that the funding will support us to make important links between the lottery funded providers and other providers, ensuring that there are progression opportunities for families.”