We have a long-standing commitment to supporting learning and skills, stretching back to the earliest days of our predecessors the New Opportunities Fund and the Community Fund. By supporting learning and skills, we’ve brought curiosity, understanding and hope to millions of adults and young people.
“I’ve discovered that there is life in the old dog yet, as I now have a hobby that’s allowing me to learn and make new friends, two things which I’d thought were well behind me”
Male, aged 63 (from the Community Access to Lifelong Learning programme)
People throughout the UK have gained new skills, greater confidence and self-esteem, and better employment prospects. Our evaluations show that we’ve reached vast numbers of people with learning resources from on-line libraries to school trips.
A million new Internet users
We helped a million novice users to access the Internet by providing 30,000 computers in over 4,000 libraries across the UK. We have enabled people to study online and create their own websites, through the biggest single investment in Europe for producing online learning materials.
We have encouraged younger and older people to learn together. Our Veterans Reunited programme supported activities in 730 schools and educational visits to 158 historic sites, and we found that younger and older people were often surprised by how enjoyable it could be to talk and learn together.
Over a million people gained new skills through our Community Access to Lifelong Learning programme, which also helped three-quarters of a million people to use e-government services for the first time and gave over half a million people the skills to assist their children or grandchildren with homework.
Our experiences of funding projects to promote learning and skills have helped us to develop new funding programmes. For example:
- Talent Match is providing better support and opportunities for young people in England who are furthest from the labour market.
- Our Live and Learn programme is helping Northern Ireland’s most disadvantaged communities to gain new knowledge and improve their well-being
- Our Life Skills (partly European-funded) and Stepping Stones programmes are helping people across Wales develop skills that will help them to manage their lives or re-engage in learning, employment or volunteering
- Our Family Learning programme in England is encouraging parents to enjoy learning with their children, to communicate better with them and to give more support to their education
- Our Community Libraries programme has helped to invigorate 58 libraries in England as centres for community learning, working closely with their local communities to provide the services they need
- Life Transitions (part of Investing in Communities in Scotland) has funded projects to support people at key times of change, helping them to gain the skills and experience they need to make their lives better for the future
You can find out more about our impact on learning and skills across the UK in some of our published research: