The Department for Education has agreed to a further year’s funding of £1.44m for the Doncaster Opportunity Area, for schools and community providers across Doncaster to deliver a range of programmes that improve opportunities through education.

Commenting on the announcement, Chief Operating Officer at Doncaster Chamber, one of the co-founding organisations of Opportunities Doncaster, Andy Hibbitt said:

“I welcome the expansion of the Opportunity Area programme and the opportunity it brings to build on the success of the programme already seen across the borough. Opportunities Doncaster and the Careers Hub have been instrumental in the plan to improve social mobility through education by raising careers awareness and aspirations.

“The impact of Covid-19 has exacerbated the inequality associated with low levels of social mobility. Additional funding will support the work to improve outcomes for young people in education, and the work towards combating the widening attainment gap.”

The announcement revealed plans to build on the successes of each opportunity area by ‘twinning’ them – a means of developing links – with places that face similar challenges, to help unleash the potential among young people in other parts of the country.

“The announcement of ringfenced funding for ‘twinned’ places is particularly welcome as we know that we can tackle barriers more effectively when we work in partnerships.” says Hibbitt. “Learning from insights into what is and is not effective in other areas, as well as sharing our own knowledge and best practice, will be crucial in our efforts to build on the work from the past three years of the programme.”

Expansion of the project will be of huge benefit to the borough, as Doncaster Chamber’s latest Doncaster Business Insight survey revealed the disproportionate impact the pending recession is likely to have on young people. The full survey results will be available at the next Doncaster Business Insight breakfast briefing to be held on 30 July 2020. Places at the digital event are free for Doncaster Chamber members, £10 +VAT for non-members and can be booked through the Doncaster Chamber website.