Oliver Wilkes at a fine drawing workshop

Meet Oliver - 

A Cottsway customer who benefited from our individual grant funding.

Oliver Wilkes, is studying online for a Level 3 Diploma in Youth Work. He received £200 from our Community Fund to help pay for relevant study aids.

Our Community Fund is available to support our customers who wish to learn new skills and increase job prospects and grants of up to £250 are available to help pay for training and coaching courses, qualifications and learning support materials.

Here Oliver, who is 20 and lives in a Cottsway home in West Oxfordshire, explains more about why he applied for our Community Fund and how it has helped him:

“I started my career in youth work just after I finished college. I was asked to volunteer at a LGBTQ+ youth group, and - being a queer person who never really had the opportunity for a group like this - I jumped at the chance! From there, I have been able to expand my skills and knowledge in youth work and I have been working at a local youth services provider for just over a year now.

I have recently started an apprenticeship in youthwork where I’ll be studying to gain a Level 3 Diploma in Youth Work Practice. This will take 18 months to complete in total, and all my course work and learning will be done digitally, through online lectures and uploading any coursework to my tutor.

Thanks to the Cottsway Community Fund I have been able to purchase a new laptop. This has been crucial to my apprenticeship as without this money I would have had to take out a loan to pay for a laptop – or I wouldn’t have been able to access the course.

While I complete the Diploma, I’ll also be continuing to work alongside young people in Carterton, Witney and Chipping Norton running youth clubs and local community events like the May Day Fayre in Carterton and Witney Pride.

Once I’ve completed the course, I’ve been offered a further year’s work with my current employer and I hope to continue working with young people and further my skills and maybe even move up to university, but I’ll have to wait and see what the future brings.

I think the Community Fund is an amazing opportunity for Cottsway residents and I’ve been encouraging other young people I know to apply for the grant as due to their age or living arrangement being able to afford extra supplies for school or college on their own is really difficult, if not impossible.

I would love for more people to apply to the Community Fund so that they can access supplies to further enhance their education no matter their age or income.”

Want to know more?

To find out more about our Community Fund, how we can support you, and how to apply, see: Community Fund

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