From October 2012- July 2016 I have managed the Neighbourhood Learning in Deprived Communities Project for Newcastle City Council's Arts Team. The project puts on creative enagagement courses for 19 plus learners who have been out of learning or employment for some time. The NLDC project also offers bespoke training for community artists and volunteers and funds the Award in Education for a selection of local community artists delivering on the project.
NLDC programmes target groups of learners aged 19+, according to levels of prior achievement to widen participation and encourage progression, especially to Level 2. Participation in NLDC courses is often a progression from other activities, enabling participants to move from recreational creative activity (supported by other funders) to slightly more formal learning programmes, but the process works the other way too – some participants in short NLDC projects graduate to more sustained participation in Arts Team programmes, where they enhance the skills they have already acquired and continue to develop their confidence, communication and transferable life-skills before they take the more significant step into social, learning, training or employment opportunities.