Rainer boosted by £9m Europe grant

Rainer, the charity for young people, is to get £9m from the European Social Fund for projects aimed at getting more young offenders and care leavers into long-term employment and education.

The grant, the charity's biggest, highlights the availability of European funding ahead of the UK's presidency of the EU in July. In addition, November has been dubbed European Month for Year of the Volunteer.

One of the projects to benefit is Resettlement, Education, Support, Employment and Training (RESET). It aims to reduce unemployment, one of the main causes of re-offending, by giving prisoners aged 15-18 the skills and support to hold down jobs on their release.

The second project, Looked After Children, will tackle the difficulties care leavers face in staying in education and trying to reach university.

In 2001/2, the latest year for which figures are available, only 46 per cent of 19 year-olds who left care were known to be in education, employment or training, compared with 86 per cent of all 19 year-olds.

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Former Labour leader Neil Kinnock argued against cutting member states' contributions to the EU Budget at last week's launch of a booklet co-ordinated by CSV to raise awareness of the impact of European funding. The booklet outlines projects that have benefited from EU funding, such as Cornwall's Eden Project. Kinnock praised it as "forensic proof that the EU's commitment to humane values was a reality".

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