Grant to help job chances of single parents in Sherborne
A Sherborne youth centre has been awarded nearly £10,000 in grant money to help develop a scheme for lone parents.
The money will allow the Rendezvous Youth Centre, in Cheap Street, to offer a range of vocational workshops and courses for single parents up to the age of 25 tailored to suit their interests and needs.
The centre will also help to pay for childcare while the parents are studying.
Around £9,800, awarded by Ofsted through the Dorset Adult Learning Centre, will allow the centre to offer help to 50 single parents over the year.
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Bob Eccleshall, chairman of the Friends of the Rendezvous, said the idea was to improve the employability of the young people.
He said: “We will be able to help them choose a course which suits them, and hopefully learning this new range of skills will improve their confidence, esteem and range of skills.”
Mr Eccleshall said the grant has given the centre scope to offer courses that people need.
He said: “We’re not going to offer a menu of courses as such.
“Instead we want to hear from the youngsters what it is they would like to learn.
“We will be able to help them with numeracy and literacy exercises and we can even arrange specific courses to learn to play an instrument or even cook.”
Mr Eccleshall said the centre is also planning to expand the music room by buying a wider range of instruments.
He said: “We will also draw on the experiences and expertise of people we have helped in the past who have offered to come back and help out.
“For example, one of our former students is now a graduate in art illustration and has been helping out with our art classes.”
Mr Eccleshall said a key part of the scheme would be to ensure the courses were flexible.
He said: “The hours will work around the student and we will help them to arrange child care so they can take part in the scheme. The grant has enabled us to be able to offer money to pay for the child care costs and we are willing to do this.”
The grant money is released in stages to the youth centre which has to provide reports on the students’ progression.
Mr Eccleshall said: “We’ve been provided with 15 per cent of the money up front and the rest will be provided as we work through the year. Of course we need to show that the students are benefiting from this scheme so we will provide reports on a month-by-month basis.
“This will also make sure that the course is working for the student.
“We will sit down with them and talk to them about exactly what they want.”
Mr Eccleshall thinks the scheme might be something that could benefit under 25s further afield.
He said: “The scheme is not just for kids living in Sherborne, it’s for any lone parent of that age in Dorset and we are happy to welcome them to the centre.”
For more information on the lone parent scheme for under 25s at The Rendezvous call 01935 814496.