The three-year Neighbourhood Support Fund pilot beat its own
targets, according to an evaluation of its performance.
It found that the initiative, designed 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
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 had remained in education as a result of
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 reported to
be “the ability of the project workers to build a relationship of
mutual trust and respect with the young people”.
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 £60m and was delivered through 650 voluntary
and community sector projects in 40 of the most deprived areas.