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FUNDING: European Social Fund Community Learning and Skills Grants 2011- 2013: East Midlands

Grants of up to £10,000 are available to third sector, voluntary and community organisations to engage with local communities and offer skills and employment services in the East Midlands.


Fund Value:
£ 576,000
Maximum Value:
£ 10,000

Value Notes

The maximum grant available is £10,000 for projects lasting from a few weeks to six months.

Extended Description

The European Social Fund Community Learning and Skills Grants 2011- 2013 is co-financed by the Skills Funding Agency and offers a small grants programme for voluntary and community groups in the East Midlands to provide informal learning opportunities for unemployed/economically inactive people from hard to reach groups. In particular the scheme wishes to support unemployed and economically inactive people aged 18 years and over who are from the hardest to reach communities and who have difficultly accessing mainstream provision.

Projects should target the following hard to reach groups:

  • People with disabilities and health conditions (where progression to employment is a likely outcome).
  • Lone parents.
  • People aged 50 or over (but still seeking to enter the labour market).
  • People from ethnic minority groups.

Latest Information

The deadline for applications is 25 July.

Key Criteria

The ESF Community Learning and Skills Grants programme is designed to assist small not-for-profit groups based in and run by people from the community they support, in the East Midlands.

The first application round will be geographically targeted. Further details can be found in Annex 2 of the guidance notes.

Additionally applicants must:

  • Be a charity, a community group or a not-for-profit organisation.
  • Be locally established, be based and providing services in the East Midlands.
  • Have a written constitution, or set of rules, which has been formally adopted.
  • Have a bank account in the organisation’s name with a minimum of two signatories.
  • Have a safeguarding policy and have appropriately trained and CRB checked their staff and volunteers.

Projects may include:

  • First contact engagement activities which help people who are not normally in contact with official organisations, for example by arranging events or training in places that such people feel comfortable to visit.
  • Projects to improve confidence, motivation and social integration such as sport, gardening, music, art and other creative activities.
  • Developing local networks and groups to support people to get a job or access learning e.g. Work Club/Enterprise Clubs or Learning Champion type activity.
  • Softer skills development e.g. assertiveness, anger management and motivation.
  • Innovative approaches to attract under-represented groups into learning.

Projects could include aspects of the following:

  • Volunteering and work experience opportunities.
  • Non accredited first steps learning.
  • Tasters to encourage the take up of learning.
  • Basic help with skills for life.
  • Job search support.

Eligible Expenditure

Examples of eligible expenditure:

  • Staff costs.
  • Venue costs.
  • General delivery costs.
  • Payments to participants.
  • Small items of equipment, up to a maximum of £1000.

Grants will not cover:

  • Individual items of equipment costing more that £1,000.
  • Purchase of second hand equipment.
  • Building, repairs or structural work – above a £750 limit for minor adaptations.
  • Buying property or land.
  • Purchase of vehicles.
  • Single trips, outings, tickets, gifts or prizes purely for a social benefit.
  • Loans.
  • Reclaimable VAT.
  • Travel outside the UK.
  • Bank charges, legal fees, fines or costs arising from legal action.


The following organisations are ineligible:

  • Individuals (not representing a group).
  • Groups that consist of one family.
  • Statutory bodies.
  • Profit making organisations.
  • Grant making bodies applying for funding to redistribute to individuals or groups.
  • Political groups.

The following activities are ineligible:

  • Projects that promote political beliefs.
  • Projects that promote religious beliefs.
  • Projects benefiting people in employment.
  • Projects benefiting people aged under 18.
  • Projects that include the costs of building, repairs or structural work.
  • Projects already in receipt of money from ESF.
  • Projects normally the responsibility of the Government or another public service provider/agency.
  • Projects which duplicate provision already supported through existing SFA or Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) mainstream activity, or ESF co-financing.

Payment Procedure

Grants will be paid in a series of advances, with 35% available up-front. Once it can be demonstrated that 50% of this funding has been spent a 30% second advance can be claimed. Once 70% of the total funding received has been spent recipients can claim a 30% third advance. The final 5% will be released on submission of all monitoring forms and verification of expenditure.

Application Procedure

All applications will under go an initial eligibility assessment and scoring process carried out by Enable staff. A ranked list will be produced for each County and presented to the relevant selection panel. Decisions will be rendered by each individual sub-regional selection panel.

Applicants are advised to contact their local promotional team to discuss their application before submitting an application:

  • Enable (Nottinghamshire) – 0115 934 9505.
  • NSLC (Northamptonshire) – 01536 526411.
  • Community Action Derby – 01332 346266.
  • Voluntary Action Leicestershire – 0116 257 5050.
  • Lincolnshire & Rutland Third Sector Learning Alliance – 0142 7611666.

Addresses and contacts

For further information on how to obtain this funding opportunity locally, please contact the following:

Contact details:
Melanie Phythian Enable
Nottingham Voluntary Action Centre
7 Mansfield Road
0115 934 9505
Email contact