The three year Neighbourhood Support Fund pilot beat its own
targets, according to an evaluation of its performance.
It found that the initiative to re-engage hard to reach 13-19
year olds with education, employment or training
“consistently achieved” its main aims. NSF projects
managed to engage with more than 50,000 young people, 5,000 more
than the target of 15,000 per year.
There were positive outcomes such as education, training or
employment for more than two thirds of the young people once they
left the projects. Clients from ethnic minority groups were more
likely than white clients to have moved on to education, training
or employment with training.
Young people were found to have gained self esteem, confidence
and basic skills and school staff reported that some of them who
would have been excluded remained in education as a result of the
The evaluation by the National Foundation for Educational
Research found that the NSF was successful because it was delivered
in a flexible way and responded to local needs. It was also felt
that the project had “credibility with young people and other
Praise was given to the “skilled, committed and supportive
project staff”. Critical to the NSF’s success was found
to be “the ability of the project workers to build a
relationship of mutual trust and respect with the young
The young people who participated in the programme were either
NEET (not in education, employment and training) or at risk of
being NEET. More than half were low achievers at school while a
quarter were either young offenders or at risk of becoming so.
The evaluation found that young people chose to participate in
the projects because they were interested in the activities on
offer, wanted to learn and progress on to a job, and were
interested in meeting people.
The pilot cost £60 million and was delivered through 650
voluntary and community sector projects in 40 of the most deprived