Last month (8 October) it was announced that 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 the £2m that was opened for bids earlier this year (June 2015) as a total of £3.2m of funding was available for Worcestershire through Building Better Opportunities.
This scheme brings together money from the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund 2014-2020 to provide joint investment in local projects that tackle poverty and promote social economic inclusion. Each Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) identified the issues challenging some of their communities and the opportunity that funding can bring to address them. In June 2015, the first projects were requested which will improve people’s access to tailored lifelong skills training and boost the local economy working alongside local employers. This new scheme announced today aims to help transition people participating in training and development support schemes into actual employment or entrepreneurship and therefore grow 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 Monday 12 noon on 30 November 2015. 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.
Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of the Big Lottery Fund, said: “We are delighted to be working with Local Enterprise Partnerships across the West Midlands to bring new funds into communities to develop employment opportunities and pathways to the job market for those most in need. These projects focus on solutions developed at a local level, from customised programmes for carers seeking flexible work to support for people to create new local social enterprises.”
Gary Woodman, Executive Director at the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “It is fantastic news that the Big Lottery Fund is matching the funds from the European Social Fund. The money available for Worcestershire will be of huge benefit to local partnerships and organisations to help people build on their individual skills development, supported by the earlier projects, and transform into actual job opportunities which will help Worcestershire businesses expand further. This approach benefits local people in realising their full potential as well as benefits local businesses and the Worcestershire and UK economy as a whole.”
“I would urge any parties interested in delivering this support for local people and communities to visit the website at the earliest opportunity to find out more and apply ahead of the deadline.”
The competitive application stage is now open. 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. 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 12 noon on Monday 30 November 2015.
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.