The South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership’s (SEMLEP) Community Grants programme Image By Olivier Le Moal AdobeStock_168894985

The South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership’s (SEMLEP) Community Grants programme has opened for a sixth-round of applications.

SEMLEP said while the local employment rate remains above average, employment across the country has seen a dip. Adding that from prolonged periods of furlough to job losses and redundancies, COVID presented an employment landscape never seen before, and as a result there is a rise in unemployment rates.

SEMLEP’s Community Grants programme offers voluntary, community and social enterprises (VCSE) grants between £10,000 and £20,000 to deliver employability skills projects, helping vulnerable members of our community get back into work or training.

Projects funded through the programme use bespoke methods to engage with people from the hardest to reach communities. For example, the Community Needs project in Luton empowers people living in isolation due to language barriers by offering free opportunities to build their skills and gain qualifications.

The Community Grants programme does not require ‘match funding’, meaning that a grant can be used to cover the entirety of a project’s cost.

Gayle Parker, operations manager at SEMLEP, said:

“Over the past year, I’m proud that we’ve been able to support members of our community to get back into the workforce.

“This sixth round of funding offers greater opportunities to recover from the pandemic. As restrictions continue to be lifted, it’s crucial that we continue to support people to develop employability skills that will benefit them now, and in the future.”

To date, the programme has awarded £1,179,526 to 69 projects. With £661,864 remaining, organisations that can help people to get back into work or training are invited to express their interest today via the SEMLEP website

The Community Grants programme is delivered by SEMLEP, supported by Voluntary Impact Northamptonshire and funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Education Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).