Building a lasting legacy through the Local Impact Fund in Nottingham

Home Icon

Building a legacy in the communities we serve remains one of our biggest priorities, and as part of our delivery of the Restart Scheme, our Local Impact Fund is providing grants to charities and community organisations across the country to transform lives at a local level.   

This year, Community Education Employment and Advice (CEEA) was awarded a grant of £5,000 during the Local Impact Fund’s first round of funding – with the money being used to install a brand-new interactive whiteboard in their classroom. Founded in 2012, the Nottingham-based charity is the only organisation in the area to provide free English language lessons for people learning English as a second language.  

Ruksanna Malik, Founder of CEEA, set the charity up when she saw a vital need within the community. She said: “CEEA is a charitable organisation based in the NG7 area, which is classed as a highly deprived area. We provide English as a Second Language (ESOL) courses from Level One to Three, and offer support to local people moving into the community.

“Our vision is to create a community centre that gives a new person that’s come into the country everything that they need. The biggest challenge we have is funding, but now thanks to the funding from Maximus, we’ve been able to create an extra classroom to help us support more learners.”

Learners being taught by the interactive whiteboard.

Reflecting our mission to transform lives, CEEA is also a member of our Community Partnership Network (CPN), supporting the participants on our employability programmes – crucially, improving their employability prospects and opening up further opportunities.   

As a small, community-based charity, they are committed to helping local people through training and employment programmes, with a particular focus on supporting the most disadvantaged members of society who may be socially excluded, such as, refugees, migrants, immigrants and asylum seekers. 

Being able to speak the local language is vital in helping them to build their life in the community. Often, learners do not have access to reliable WiFi within their home environment, which makes the classroom environment all the more valuable. 

Karen Venesse, Lead ESOL Tutor at CEEA, said: “As a tutor, it’s my responsibility to make sure that students come here and get the most out of their language learning, whether that’s just to be part of the community that they live in, to or to get a job, or to work within their own family unit, or to help with their children at school. It can be anything, but it’s all about responding to the needs of the learners.”

A learner with the whiteboard.

Lacking access to technology, however, can stifle progress when it comes to learning a new language. Within the ESOL environment, immersion in the target language is crucial for learners so as a result of the new interactive whiteboard, CEEA have been able to enhance the way they teach English – making their classes more accessible through active participation.  

Charis Green, Head of Community Partnerships at Maximus for South and West Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, and Derbyshire, visited CEEA and saw the whiteboard in action. She said: We were really keen to fund this particular project. The students are able to take a different approach to their learning because they can see and visualise as the learning is taking place. It’s a completely different approach for them and it’s made a huge impact to the organisation.”

The new technology has helped to build a legacy for people accessing the service now, and future learners who will feel the benefits for years to come.  

Noticing an uptick in learners as a result of the new technology, Karen said:Interestingly, since we’ve had the whiteboard, word has definitely spread around the community that we’ve got this amazing new piece of tech that people love.

“It’s all about that investment that we’re able to put back into the community. We’ve got a waiting list now and we’ve certainly seen an increase in people coming to us because of what we can offer.”

As we look ahead to the Local Impact Fund’s second round of funding, we’re continuing to develop long-lasting relationships with a number of local organisations, strengthening local communities and creating long-lasting change.

19 December, 2023