Community Grants form an integral part of the European Structural Fundsi and are funded through the European Social Fund (ESFi). Community Grants in the North West are small grants up to a maximum of £12,000 available to community groups to help develop their skills and capacity to help people in deprived communities into the labour market.
What is the purpose of Community Grants?
The purpose of ESF Community Grants enable small Third Sectori organisations, which would not otherwise be able to access ESF, to apply for small grants through simplified application arrangements. Grants focus on progression towards the labour market but will not duplicate provision that is available through mainstream ESF activity. Grants strengthen the ability of small Third Sector organisations to deliver employment and skills activities to disadvantaged people.
What activities are eligible under Community Grants?
ESF Community Grants will support a range of activities aimed at assisting the disadvantaged or excluded to move closer to the labour market by improving their access to mainstream ESF and domestic employment and skills provision.
Activities will support participants from the target groups in the ESF Regional Framework but because the focus will be on individuals who have difficulty in accessing ESF or mainstream provision outcomes are more likely to be based on progression rather than achievement of jobs and qualifications.
The grants will support a wide range of activities including:
- Initial help with basic skills
- Taster work experience including voluntary work
- Training, advice and counselling
- Jobsearch assistance including the provision of equipment and other assistance necessary to secure employment
- Confidence building
- First contact engagement activities
Grants must not be used to duplicate provision that is available through other ESF funding support – they will provide support to hardest to reach communities and individuals, especially those from deprived communities, to access employment or further learning and training. Small Third Sector organisations that access grants are likely to be well placed to reach excluded individuals facing barriers which hinder access to mainstream provision.