Non-profit organisation, Better Connect has just completed with resounding success, the first year of their free numeracy training programme, to help support adults in the York and North Yorkshire region. The organisation exceeded their targets for year one of the programme, helping hundreds of local adults in only three months since receiving funding back in December.
The programme, Multiply, which is part of a Government initiative to tackle the numeracy skills crisis in the UK is helping individuals from all backgrounds to overcome the personal barriers and challenges they face due to lacking functional numeracy skills or confidence.
Many participants of the programme run locally by Better Connect have been surprised by the holistic and personal approach to the support available. Feedback has shown those taking part in the sessions have found the sessions have helped them to learn how to manage their money, become debt free and understand household bills. Others have commented how they didn’t realise numeracy was involved in art, measuring, shapes, baking and cooking and how the programme has helped them feel more positive about numeracy overall.
To celebrate the achievements of the first year, Better Connect held an event on the 31st of March at Priory Street in York with their 12 delivery partners, where they discussed their successes and plans for year two of the programme.
Emma Lyons, Multiply Programme Manager at Better Connect shared at the event, “We’ve just completed year one, and we’ve absolutely smashed it. There’s been such great provision by such great partners, and we are really excited to move the programme forward on to year two. We’ve got even bigger and even better, so watch this space.”
To ensure the training programme makes a positive impact, Better Connect’s expert delivery partners developed creative ways to ensure the programme is engaging for all involved. Helping individuals understand numerical tasks that are involved in a broad range of daily activities, including budgeting, bank statements and cost comparisons to helping children with homework and hobbies you wouldn’t even typically associate with numeracy, such as crafting, woodworking, games and much more.
Chris Hailey Norris, CEO at Up For Yorkshire, one of Better Connect’s delivery partners, shared his thoughts on the programme: “It has been great the impact we’ve been making. We’ve been trying lots of different things, from cooking classes to drop-in sessions to really having fun with games, but all incorporating numeracy. It’s been a real game-changer. From someone who didn’t like numeracy, I’ve really started to change my own thinking!”
Better Connect and their partners exceeded their targets for year one of the programme and, since January this year, have helped over 450 adults across 8 districts in the local region, as well as engaging over 250 local employers to get involved.
Yasmine Baghali, Tutor at Craven College, commented: “I’ve been helping deliver the Multiply sessions in Skipton Craven. We’ve been working with diverse groups of men and women in the local community including refugees that have come from Ukraine and British ethnic minority families that have been living here for quite some time.
“I think a lot of people don’t realise that we are using maths in everyday situations and initially, people have said to us, oh, I don’t want to do maths, I’m not interested in maths. But we’ve tried to be more creative and embed maths training into people’s daily lives.
“We’ve taken our sessions into community groups, working with people that have different needs, we’ve gone to wellbeing cafes etc., and working with people who are possibly more reluctant to go into colleges. Some of the participants of the programme have even been encouraged to go on to gain further qualifications, so it has been beneficial to be flexible as to how we deliver the Multiply programme in the community and has led to some really positive outcomes”.
Better Connect is now currently in the process of applying for funding for the second year of the programme in the local region which, they hope to help hundreds more adults in the local region to improve their day-to-day lives by developing their numeracy skills in their enjoyable training sessions. Already, they have welcomed seven additional delivery partners for year two of the programme, including Age UK Yorkshire Coast & Moors, Autism Plus, Coterminous, NYBEP, Orb Community Enterprise, The Rainbow Centre/Animated Objects and Working for Health.