NEWS: Last chance for organisations to apply for £20,000 to fund local employment initiatives

Groundwork is encouraging organisations in Coventry & Warwickshire and West Yorkshire to apply for grants of up to £20,000 to fund employment initiatives before the programme closes on 31 March 2022.

ESF Community Grants, funded by the European Social Fund, has been running for three years and aims to support small and voluntary organisations with grants of £5,000 – £20,000 for local initiatives that will move unemployed people towards employment, training or back into education.

To date, the project has awarded over £5m to organisations across Coventry & Warwickshire and West Yorkshire that has resulted in over 2200 people being supported via the programme.

Huddersfield-based, Thornton Lodge Action Group received funding for their ‘Women into Enterprise’ project, an initiative that supports BAME women towards self-employment opportunities. Since 2019, over 90 participants been involved in the programme and have received both employment and personal skills-based training to develop their readiness and confidence to pursue their own businesses.

Missbah Hussain- Project Co-ordinator & Enterprise Champion at Thornton Lodge Action Group, said:

Thornton Lodge Action Group has been inspiring unemployed women and young girls to think about alternative employment opportunities by celebrating positive female role models within industry. The Women in Enterprise project provides women the platform to be mentored by successful entrepreneurs, develop new skills, and gain independent information, advice and guidance spearheading them to set up their own mini enterprises.

Warwickshire-based, Career-Mums CIC, an initiative that has helped over 40 Coventry and Warwickshire women back into work following a career break, have also benefitted. Their project has supported participants to not only find a job but support them towards a career that is both rewarding and fits in around family responsibilities.

Sally Dhillon, co-founder of Career-Mums, says:

We love getting to know our participants through our programme and seeing their confidence and career-readiness improve through our support. Many participants tell us that the programme has been life changing as it has given them a new sense of motivation and optimism for the future.  ESF Community Grants have enabled us to dedicate a high level of support and resources to overcome the challenges that had so far prevented them from work.

Projects that are eligible for funding include activities that improve confidence and promote social integration – such as sports and gardening clubs -, the development of local support groups and networks, such as ‘Job Clubs’ and initiatives that to help personal development, such as assertiveness and motivational training. A grants panel comprised of representatives from key local stakeholders help to ensure that the funding reaches those projects who can make a real difference, to those who need it the most.

Graham Duxbury, Groundwork’s UK Chief Executive, said:

This is a great opportunity for organisations to support local efforts to help people level-up and work towards a happier, more positive future. Small and voluntary organisations have the knowledge of the local area, understand needs of the local community and have the potential to deliver targeted and effective localised programmes of support. We encourage local organisations to apply.

Find out more and apply 

Notes to Editors

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About ESF Community Grants

Groundwork is working in Coventry & Warwickshire and West Yorkshire to deliver ‘ESF Community Grants’ – a programme offering funding pots of between £5,000 to £20,000 to small and voluntary organisations to help unemployed people advance towards employment, education and training.

The programme will run from April 2019 and applications will be open until October 2020, with rolling grant panels throughout. ESF Community Grants are funded by the European Social Fund, commissioned by the Education and Skills Funding Agency, and are being managed by Groundwork in Coventry & Warwickshire and West Yorkshire with support from local Groundwork Trusts.

ESF Community Grants are delivered in partnership with Coventry & Warwickshire and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).

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About the European Social Fund

ESF Community Grants has received funding from the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. The Department for Work and Pensions (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme. Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations.  For more information visit:

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