The first two successful applicants to the City Ideas Fund have been announced by City of Wolverhampton Council. The fund offers a one-off grant of between £500 and £10,000, for city employers, partners, voluntary organisations, community groups and individuals to develop ideas and projects which help young people into jobs and learning.
The first round of funding closed last month with ideas coming forward to address some of the key challenges connected with reducing the number of unemployed 18 to 24-year-olds in the city from 2,660.
The successful applicants were chosen by an independent Blind Evaluation Panel made up of representative organisations and young people from across the city and moderated by an internal team from the Council.
RG Box Fit, a boxing club based in Oxford Street, Bilston, has been awarded £3,300 to develop a ‘Box Clever’ a programme of two one-hour non-contact boxing sessions per week to help build up confidence, release stress and reduce anxiety, as well as learning a new skill. Each session will be followed by half-an-hour in the classroom having a chat about work placements, CV building, interviews and life skills which will help young people get into jobs.
Richie Ghent, Head Boxing Coach at RG Box Fit, said: “As a club we are over the moon to have been successful with our City Ideas Fund application. We cannot wait to get started and help impact lives for the better.
“A positive mindset is so important when approaching job opportunities, we will be going above and beyond by providing 18 to 24-year-olds with boxing sessions to enable this. We encourage other local businesses to enhance possibilities for young people to get into work."
Topps for the Community (CIC) based in Langley Road, has been awarded £5,000 to develop ‘Young Mental Health Champions’. It is a citywide project, with priority being given to young people from Bushbury South & Low Hill, St Peters and Bilston East, to engage and support, them through intensive mentoring.
The aim is to develop ten young people into champions/mentors for other young people with poor mental health and other complex issues, to move them closer to the jobs market and make them aware of employer expectations especially in sectors that currently have high vacancy rates such as health and social care, distribution and new & emerging technologies.
Anna Wright, Director of Topps Training, said: “We are delighted to be given an opportunity to support the young people of Wolverhampton through the City Ideas Fund.
“We will engage and support by intensively mentoring ten young people to develop them as champions and mentors for other young people with poor mental health and other complex issues. This will move them closer to the jobs market and make them aware of employer expectations.”
Council Leader, Councillor Ian Brookfield, said: “I’d like to thank RG Box Fit and Topps for the Community for springing into action and answering the city’s call for ideas to support our young people.
“I truly believe that this is a city that leaves no-one behind. But, to shift that dial, we need disruptive thinking, we need to shake things up – because all our best efforts to reduce youth unemployment to date, have not been enough.
“That is why we need to come together as ‘one city’ – as we’ve done throughout the pandemic – and we need to act because time is running out. We risk presiding over a ‘lost generation’ and we cannot keep kicking the can down the road.
“The City Ideas Fund provides an initial £100,000 to stimulate fresh thinking and the funding awards to these two organisations is just the start.”
The City Ideas Fund closed for first-round applications in December 2021. Further applications are currently being reviewed and an announcement will be made in February to inform all applicants of the outcome.