Four charitable organisations based in Southampton have received a fantastic boost totaling £18,971, following grant awards made from the Ford Southampton Community Fund, administered by Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Foundation (HIWCF).

The latest round of funding has been awarded to four Southampton based groups: Greenhouse City Life, Monty’s Bike Hub, Propbox Youth Theatre and Safe New Futures, to encourage young people to learn technical skills, focusing on those that are not in employment, education or training (NEETs).

One of the groups receiving a grant is Monty’s Bike Hub in Southampton, which has been awarded £2,612 to deliver monthly ‘Bike Doctor Workshops’ in four local secondary schools. Young people can bring their bikes along at lunchtime and learn how to repair punctures, adjust brakes and gears and conduct an overall safety check. Two bicycle mechanics are able to set up a station in an area of the school where teachers can direct pupils that are struggling at school through disengaging with education. The staff from Monty’s are excellent at building a rapport with the young people and encouraging them to attend long-term youth workshops where they are able to develop communication and team building skills alongside the practical skills. You can follow @montysbikehub for updates on how the workshops are going or to get in touch to organise more sessions like this in your community.

Joshua Allen, Project Co-ordinator for Monty’s Bike Hub commented: “The grant will enable young people to learn practical skills, helping to keep them safe on their bikes, and enable them to feel confident through gaining a new skill which in turn boosts their self-esteem. It is a sad fact that many young people facing multiple disadvantages have very few positive relationships in their lives, with education often becoming a battle rather than an empowering tool. The opportunity to engage in a practical workshop from which they see instant results can often open their minds to educational experiences and teachers have reported that young people who have attended the workshops were more focused and less agitated in lessons.”

Greenhouse City Life has also received a grant of £6,859 towards providing a skilled on-site mentor to assist four young NEETs. The job support programme offers a place of work where young people can learn outdoor carpentry and patio laying skills, providing them with the technical skills and confidence required to take up a career working in this industry sector.

Gary Thompson, Superintendent of Transport Operations, Ford Southampton commented “We are extremely passionate about giving young people a chance to improve their life skills and achieve their personal goals. By supporting disengaged and disadvantaged young people through our fund with HIWCF, we can help them to overcome the barriers that limit their access to work and give them the life opportunities that they deserve.”

Grant Cornwell, Chief Executive at HIWCF said “We are delighted to be working with the Ford Southampton Community Fund Team, this grant programme is supporting a range of truly deserving groups in the Southampton area. We will continue to build partnerships in the local community to ensure that we can continue to target grants to the areas where they are most needed.”