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£1.2 million grant programme to benefit local community groups

20 March 2019

Community groups working in Luton and Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Milton Keynes and Aylesbury Vale are invited to apply for a grant up to £20,000 per project.  

The Community Grant programme, due to start from 1st April, is designed to fund local projects to support individuals who are currently unemployed to take up training, volunteering or get back into work.

The Community Grants programme is part-funded by the European Social Fund and the Education Skills Funding Agency and managed by the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership, SEMLEP.

The grant programme is keen to receive applications from organisations that can create bespoke ways to engage with people from the hardest to reach communities. It’s expected that the fund will support around 1000 participants.

Projects should focus on supporting people to develop confidence, self-esteem, enhance employability skills and transferrable life skills.  Examples of eligible projects include those that:

  • provide training, advice or counselling and job search assistance
  • assist with financial numeracy and literacy or develop digital skills
  • provide work experience or volunteering opportunities with a clear path back into employment

Hilary Chipping, Chief Executive, SEMLEP comments “SEMLEP is delighted to announce this new funding opportunity. Supporting people to train or retrain to get back into work is a key element of SEMLEP’s role to promote a successful, growing and inclusive economy that improves the quality of life of every member of our community.  

“The expertise of how to do this best lies within our communities. Through this programme, we can tap into that local knowledge and expertise and support good projects that deliver for local people and local employers.  

Unlike many other grant funding schemes available, this new Community Grant programme does not require any ‘match’ funding which means that the grant can cover 100% of the project cost.

Local community organisations who wish to apply for a grant can benefit from dedicated support from either Social Business Alliance or Voluntary Impact Northamptonshire. The two organisations are a key part of the Community Grants delivery team and will provide information about project eligibility and guidance throughout the application process.  

Sue Quinn, Social Business Alliance adds, “Community grants is an ideal way for small specialist VCSE organisations to deliver really good work with their communities. We know that these organisations use innovative and creative ways of engaging with people building their confidence and self-esteem.”

Jane Roemer, European Funding Manager and Marcela Crusco Community Grants Project Manager at SEMLEP and representatives from Social Business Alliance and Voluntary Impact Northamptonshire will be hosting an information event about European Social Fund funding opportunities, including the Community Grants Programme on Thursday 11 April, from 10.15 am at the Cranfield Innovation Centre, Cranfield University Technology Park, MK43 0BT.

Register your attendance at the event here: Community Grants Information Event

More information will be available on SEMLEP’s website from 1st April 2019.

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