Capacity - supporting children, families and communities


Wishes is a ground-breaking project to provide supported steps to training and employment for parents of young children who want to improve their basic skills and employment opportunities, particularly those parents who would like to gain a Level 2 qualification. Designed by Capacity in 2005 for Thurrock children's centres, Wishes has been highly successful in engaging parents who have had no contact with formal learning since leaving schools and in supporting them in their aspirations and towards employment. In 2007, the project was cited as a best practice case study in the Social Exclusion Task Force Families at Risk Review.

Wishes Richmond - Tacking Inequality, Creating Opportunity

Richmond upon Thames, although a very prosperous borough, has pockets of deprivation, where families are on very low incomes, may be unemployed or in low-paid work, are in poor health, or lack qualifications. Wishes is a borough-wide project, led by the Children’s Services and Culture Directorate, to address local skills gaps, but specifically to help parents to undertake training and or other activities which will help them to gain employment and so improve the well-being of their children.

Anyone lacking a Level 2 qualification can join. In so doing they will have access to courses, near where they live and have the support of a mentor. The exact programme for each parent will be built around their own individual needs and wishes and at a pace which suits them. There will be help with childcare where this is needed. Wishes will be based in children’s centres but supported by a wide range of partners, such as the library service, Richmond Adult and Community College, Health, Jobcentre Plus and other agencies.

Wishes Richmond

Wishes Southampton – Passport to success

Forming a key strand of the Southampton Child Poverty Pilot, Wishes - Passport to success was launched on 14th May. The project is funded by the Department of Work and Pensions and is the result of a partnership between Sure Start Children’s Centres and Jobcentre Plus. Other key partners include Health, Adult Training and Learning Providers, Employers and Voluntary Sector organisations.

As part of a two-year pilot, Wishes will provide a means of engaging and supporting up to 600 parents with basic skills, qualifying and pre-employment training. Parents will also receive specialist support in looking for jobs and preparing for interviews.


Wishes Thurrock

In Thurrock, Wishes is also an authority-wide initiative to engage unemployed parents in community-focused training and learning opportunities, as a key element of children’s centre development.

Wishes has been successful in helping parents because it has effectively tackled the barriers which put people off learning, whether practical  lack of transport or childcare - or emotional, or health-related.

In 2007, Wishes won an Opening Doors to Adult Learners Award, for outstanding innovation, creativity and commitment to learning.

Wishes Thurrock