In 2015-16 Friends Centre worked with and for over 1,184 learners. This comprised: 166 learners on our accredited courses; 705 learners on our community learning courses or supported through our community learning funding of which 327 were on our mental health pilot programme; and 392 learners that were not funded by the Skills Funding Agency.
Geographically and socially, Friends Centre serves the shifting and often disadvantaged and deprived central Brighton community with 45% of accredited learners resident in disadvantaged postcodes. The highest proportion- 66% of all learners – are resident in BN1 and BN2. Friends Centre also works with the community hubs in the estates in the east of the City at Whitehawk Inn and at The Bridge in Moulsecoomb, with 12% of all Friends Centre learners living in those estate post codes with high multiple deprivation indicators.
Overall, 18% of our learners are referred to us from agencies, while 21% of all our learners are referred to us by a friend and the largest number of learners come to us through our brochure (32%). In terms of our ASB learners 30% are referred to us from agencies, with Mind being one of our main referrers, while 36% of ASB learners are referred to us by a friend or relative.
Many of our learners present with mental health and learning difficulties. 11% of our learners declared at enrolment that they have a specific learning difficulty, and 27% declared at enrolment they had a specific disability in 2015/16 – an increase from 19% in 2014/15. Overall 33% of our learners declare they have LDD. Within ASB, 20% of our learners have declared at enrolment that they have a specific learning difficulty and 24% of our learners have declared they have a specific disability. Overall 36% of our ASB learners have declared they have LDD.