Alongside drawing tangible results from its previous activity, the charity has also appointed a new Director of Enterprise and Investment, Helen Wills - who has previously held senior positions at Balfour Beatty Investments and regeneration programmes across the North West - to focus on growth and increasing the number of collaborative partnerships it undertakes.
Since its launch, One Ark, part of the First Ark Group, has focused on creating social value and economic impact opportunities for businesses and individuals across the Liverpool City Region. One such project was New Horizons, which supported young people at risk of becoming Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET), utilising a collaborative delivery approach in conjunction with social enterprise Fusion 21 and Greater Merseyside Connexions Partnership.
As with all its work, One Ark used HACT, a detailed econometrics model which is designed to evidence and measure the social impact, to evaluate the success of New Horizons. In total, the campaign secured 139 jobs with local employers, provided qualifications for 1,030 individuals and improved the school attendance of 1,549 Merseyside students, engaging with a total of 2,819 young people.
Another successful project was One Ark’s Eco Teams, which sought to provide the region’s residents with effective ways to save both energy and in turn, money. Engaging with over 1,000 individuals directly, a total of £78,000 was cut from Knowsley residents’ energy bills and 1,000 tonnes of CO² was saved. Furthermore, Eco Teams enabled 3,720 people to access a Free Home Energy Audit, an assessment which identifies how a property’s energy is used and how this can be reduced to create environmental and financial benefits.
In addition, following extensive research into the needs of those it aims to support, One Ark has pledged a commitment to several digital inclusion projects in an aim to tackle issues associated with the internet. This includes the provision of internet access and tablets to a high-rise residential development in an area of deprivation. This allowed the residents and a further 900 SMEs to access job opportunities, essential services and future support via affordable, pay as you go Wi-Fi, with free access to employment and government websites. As part of this project, 78 individuals received training on internet use, 56 of which had never previously used the web.
One Ark has also worked with Barclays to hold digital inclusion events in the community, which provide top tips on using the internet. In order to maximise engagement for these events, the charity conducted wide-reaching marketing and PR activity.
Commenting on the charity’s plans for growth, Helen Wills said: “Collaboration is something that doesn’t happen enough in the public or private sector, despite the benefits it provides for all involved. I’m keen for One Ark to build on its success and to utilise like-minded partners in order to deliver tangible results, which provide measurable economic and wellbeing impact for those we aim to support.
“Conducting such activity will also provide concrete returns for One Ark, building resilience and sustainability for us as a charity as well as for our partners and beneficiaries.”