Skills Builder partnership project receives Big Lottery Fund grant

Wednesday 6th December 2017

Offenders on license can gain vital work and life skills by helping to look after nature reserves and countryside sites in Staffordshire, after a project was awarded £81,000 from the Big Lottery Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK.

The ‘Skills Builder’ partnership project is being run by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, Fit for Work and the Peak District National Park Authority.

The project aims to reduce the risk of re-offending by giving offenders on license the opportunity to engage with practically-based vocational education, and gain qualifications in transferable employable skills. It will help increase their confidence, motivation and also show them how to work in a team.

Participants will be given the chance to carry out a variety of outdoor tasks to areas of wild moorlands, deep cut river valleys and small-scale agriculture in the Churnet Valley, North Staffordshire and the southern Peak District. As part of ‘Skills Builder’ they will work on the Trust’s Roaches nature reserve carrying out tasks such as path laying.

Nicki Dyas, Project Development Officer for Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, said: “While in this very different environment they will have opportunity to gain work experience and qualifications in skills such as health and safety in the work place, hand tool usage and working in a team.

“Local countryside sites will benefit greatly from work done improving biodiversity and public access by activities such as vegetation clearance and path construction.

“Skills Builder will help those taking part develop pro-social attitudes and make positive contributions to their local communities, leading to happier and stronger relationships. The project should also give them better chance in life, meaning they will be less likely to re-offend.”

James Harcourt, England Grant Making Director at the Big Lottery Fund, said: “Working with its partners, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust aims to address the challenges people face when they become involved in the criminal justice system. By giving people the confidence they need to take a positive step forward, its ‘Skills Builder’ project aims to benefit both those taking part and the wider community.”

The Big Lottery Fund is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. Last year it awarded almost £713 million and supported almost 14,000 projects across the UK for health, education, environment and charitable purposes.

Notes to editors:

Founded in 1969, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust is the county's leading nature conservation charity with around 50 members of staff, who are guided by a board of Trustees.

The Big Lottery Fund uses money raised by National Lottery players to help communities achieve their ambitions. From small, local projects to UK-wide initiatives, our funding brings people together to make a difference to their health, wellbeing and environment. Since June 2004 we have awarded £8.5 billion to projects that improve the lives of millions of people.