EU and Big Lottery Fund launched for organisations in Worcestershire

Worcestershire organisations are being invited to bid for just over £1.1m of EU and Big Lottery Funding to support the development of skills to overcome barriers to work, education and training.

This funding is in addition to £2m that was opened for bids in 2015 for two allied projects, making a total of £3.2m of funding investment for Worcestershire projects through Building Better Opportunities.

A project is being sought in the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area to improve access to lifelong learning and support to boost the local economy, working alongside local employers. Although the area as a whole could be considered affluent and prospering, pockets of deprivation exist, particularly in Redditch, Worcester and Wyre Forest. These areas have higher levels of unemployment and crime, alongside greater health and educational disadvantage.

Money from the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund 2014-2020 provide a joint investment into local projects that tackle poverty and promote social economic inclusion. The Worcestershire LEP has identified the issues challenging some of their communities and the opportunity that funding can bring to address them. The project requested will improve people’s access to tailored lifelong skills training and boost the local economy.

A total of £1,130,100 is available for the Worcestershire project and interested parties are being urged to come forward as soon as possible ahead of the deadline of Thursday 24 November 2016. The funding will be managed by the Big Lottery Fund and will give voluntary, community and social enterprise groups access to this wider European Social Fund (ESF) money.

The project is part of Worcestershire LEP’s remit to ensure businesses, local government, third sector, higher and further education work together with a common, shared purpose – to create the conditions for economic growth, increasing prosperity and delivering the 10-year Strategic Economic Plan for Worcestershire.

Gary Woodman, Chief Executive at the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for local organisations to receive support from the Big Lottery Fund and European Social Fund to create projects that overcome barriers to work, education and training. Local businesses will benefit from the development of individuals skills and will help to create further job opportunities, further boosting the local economy.

“I would encourage all organisations interested in delivering this support for local people and communities to visit the Big Lottery Fund website at the earliest opportunity to find out more and apply ahead of the deadline.”

The competitive application stage opened on 29 September 2016. Grant competitions are fair, open and competitive and any organisation is eligible to apply, however most of the projects will be better suited to partnership working. All projects must be started by July to November 2017 and must be completed by July 2020 latest.

Full details of all the projects outlined in this round are available on the Big Lottery Funding website as well as details of how to apply for this current round of funding by the deadline of Thursday 24 November 2016.

To be kept informed on the latest Building Better Opportunities news register your interest on the Big Lottery Fund website and for more information on the funding and applications, call the BIG Advice Line on 0345 410 2030.