Evaluation of the Neighbourhood Support Fund: Stage 2 Emerging Findings

Sarah Golden, Lisa O'Donnell, Thomas Spielhofer, David Sims, Sarah Aiston

01 November 2001

Final report

The Neighbourhood Support Fund (NSF) was announced in September 1999 and is a three year programme. The programme is aimed at re-engaging disengaged 13 to 19 year olds back into education, training and/ or employment. The DfES is providing £60 million over three years to over 650 projects located in 40 target areas in England. Three 'Managing Agents' manage the application of the fund which supports projects run by local voluntary and community-based organisations.

The DfES commissioned NFER to undertake a study of the NSF which will demonstrate the extent to which NSF is supporting the re-engagement of young people in education, training, employment or other structured activities. The results reported here are emerging findings from the study, conducted between July and September 2001, based on a critical review of information and data relating to Year 1 of the Neighbourhood Support Fund.

Key Findings

  • The NSF has shown that a government programme can reach down into communities by enabling local organisations to respond to the needs of young people and add value to their lives.
  • Projects are recruiting young people from the target group. The majority of young people recruited had some form of educational disadvantage, including low levels of school achievement, being long term non-attenders, truants, or being excluded from school.
  • Other types of young people frequently involved included clients identified as young offenders or at risk of becoming young offenders, clients who had special educational needs, were homeless, or who were alcohol or drug dependant.
  • Managing Agents identified the skills, attitude, and experience of project workers as the main factors contributing to successful projects. Project activities that have proved to be particularly popular with young people include those associated with the creative arts and leisure- or sports-based activities.
  • Early figures suggest that a third (33 per cent ) of young people who had left NSF projects had moved on to education, training or employment with training. Around one in ten had gone on to a local programme, including the Learning Gateway or the New Deal.
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