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Meet Liam Allen and Kamran Khan, who are volunteers at the brand new community café at Beaumont Lodge Neighbourhood Centre. The community café will soon be open to the public and will offer refreshments, freshly baked products as well as hot and cold menu items. The community café was funded by the Big Lottery - Awards for All, who helped Beaumont Lodge Neighbourhood CIC get all the equipment and training needed to run the café. Liam and Kamran continue to volunteer their time to try out and experiment with various products and offers for visitors and members of Beaumont Lodge Neighbourhood Centre. The Cooke e-Learning Foundation are supporting the community café through assistance with implementing processes and procedures, as well as supplying freshly baked products through their 'Strike Out' project which works with young people across the city who are marginalised from education.
The community café will soon be announcing their official opening once they have their food hygiene rating. Watch this space!
We are working with partners from the Highfields Centre and Saffron Resource Centre and develop a community wi-fi project, which will provide a free internet service for residents participating in training courses or volunteering locally and will help partners to get their community related messages to the right people.
The network will be set up and maintained by the users themselves with the three centres acting as gatekeepers to the backhaul connections. We plan to ensure long-term sustainability through advertising revenues from service providers who have a vested interest in communicating with our service users, such as local doctors, NHS and the local authority..
This proposal is part of the Beaumont Leys Our Place initiative. linked to the Health and Well-being and the Low Income Families themes. Providing an internet connection at home will have an impact on the financial health of families, especially if they are attending literacy, numeracy, financial capability and digital skills information sessions. Cooke Computers will be able to offer free refurbished laptops and desktops to end users
We need your help in gathering evidence to get this project up and running. Please get in touch and speak to Martin regarding the Digital Leicester - Community Wi-Fi Project.
Maximising Economic Partnership (MEP) Press Release
Leicester and Leicestershire's Community Organisations on route to tackle social and economic exclusion together
Community partnership Maximising Economic Potential Project (MEP) has made it to the second round of applications for £5.2million of National Lottery funding, and received £50,000 to start tackling social and economic exclusion.
MEP is a partnership of eleven Leicester and Leicestershire community organisations working collaboratively to provide a wide range of employment- related services to help individuals who are furthest from the labour market to find and retain work.
Partners include charities and community groups specializing in age, disability, homelessness, and cultural support. This development funding will allow MEP to develop an application for a Building Better Opportunities project. If successful, the bid would bring up to £5.2 million of funding from the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund to Leicester and Leicestershire, to tackle the root causes of poverty, promote social inclusion and drive local jobs and growth.
Priya Thamotheram, Chair of the MEP Project Board said: 'Highfields Centre and its MEPpartners are absolutely delighted to have been awarded this Big Lottery development funding, which will enable us to fully consider and prepare for the major employment related services to be provided in Leicester and Leicestershire'.
Martin Buchanan, Chief Executive, E2 (Cooke E-Learning Foundation) stated that: 'This is fantastic news for the disadvantaged communities we work with and for people who are socially excluded in Leicester and Leicestershire that are furthest away from the labour markets. If we are successful in gaining this funding, we will be able to help people with complex needs to improve their job search and interview skills as well as identify voluntary opportunities to help increase participant's confidence and skills'.
The Cooke E-Learning Foundation - now trading as E2 - has secured the lease of the former housing office at Home Farm, Beaumont Leys for the next 5 years. Leicester City Council have relocated their housing services to Beaumont Leys Library resulting in a more efficient and easier to access service for Beaumont Leys residents. E2 intends to use the former housing office to deliver a range of educational and community related services for young people and adults. Over the next few months, E2 will roll-out a number of new services such as free computer sessions, after-school sessions and advice surgeries in partnership with De Montfort University (DMU) who share a vision to help local residents of Beaumont Leys in lifting themselves and their families out of poverty through education, advice and guidance. The Home Farm area in Beaumont Leys is one of the most disadvantaged parts of the city, which is why E2 and DMU are determined to make a difference and offer services that benefit local people. Local Ward Councillors have been crucial in helping to make this happen by ensuring that whoever moves into the former Home Farm Housing Office meets the needs of local young people and adults and brings a real benefit to the area.
The Cooke E-Learning Foundation (E2) has been located in Beaumont Leys for over 10 years and their work throughout Leicester and Leicestershire has helped 1000s of people get to grips with technology as well as delivering over 10,000 hours of workshops and community related projects, many of which are focused on Beaumont Leys. E2 are currently a delivery partner with Moneywise Plus, a £1.9 million EU/Lottery funded project which started at the end of 2016 and will continue to 2019. Moneywise Plus helps participants move closer to employment with services designed to improve financial capability, digital skills and volunteering.
De Montfort University’s Square Mile project has already made a big difference in Beaumont Leys with the development of Beaumont Park Sports Facility on Bennion Road, as well as the assistance they have provided to new and existing groups through the ‘Building a Better Beaumont Leys Project’ which has helped community groups with start-up funding and funding for community events.
Martin Buchanan the CEO of E2 stated that ‘this centre is right where we want to be, bringing E2 back to its original roots and helping those who need it the most. The Cooke E-Learning Foundation now trading as E2 is the brainchild of Peter Smith who in 2005 was Deputy Principal of Babington College and saw that local residents in the area needed additional help outside of what the college could offer. We have a lot of work to do at Home Farm and we hope to gain the trust and support of local residents to make the area a better place to live and help people to empower themselves through education.’
Martin Buchanan has lived and worked in Beaumont Leys for over 18 years and has raised his children in the areas schools. His previous involvement with Home farm includes renovating a disused toilet block which had not been open for over 7 years. The toilet block is currently used as an office for a taxi company. He is currently a Trustee of Beaumont Lodge Neighbourhood Association CIO, which is one of the area's few remaining community organisations and was key in helping the organisation develop into a fully-fledged charity and improving their services.
Martin Buchanan went on to state that ‘Beaumont Leys needs more community minded people to help stand up for the rights of local residents and to develop services that are not currently available or may be shortly unavailable due to cuts. If there are people in Beaumont Leys that have ideas about setting up their own group please get in touch and we will do our best to get you on the right path’. Contact Martin on: 0116 2128491.
We are working with our European partner, IES Abastos in Valencia, Spain, providing work experience for two of their students who have come to the United Kingdom on the ERASMUS scheme. They will be working with us for three months to gain more experience in computers/networks and teaching. Manuel and Jorge are final year university students who are keen to work in the I.T. and teaching sectors. Manuel is enjoying his time in the UK “I am delighted with my placement at the Cooke e-Learning Foundation so far, because I have been able to work with new people as well as fix computers and install operating systems, I am very pleased that the charity offered me a position to work alongside tutors on their Strike Out project which teaches children vocational education in catering and functional skills”. Strike Out is the charity’s alternative education project that works with behaviourally challenged young people from across Leicester. Jorge said he likes coming to Cooke e-Learning because “No day is the same as there are new issues and problems to fix everyday in the charity’s IT classrooms. Since coming to Cooke I am becoming more independent and confident, learning new skills and this is such valuable work experience for me”.