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Connecting You Learning and Employment Support Fund

Find out all the information and criteria for applying for the Connecting You Learning and Employment Support Fund.

What is the purpose of the scheme?

The skills and employment team at Rochdale Borough Council have got a small pot of funding, previously known as Priority Investment Fund (PIF), to support people to increase their skill levels, provide learning opportunities or support people to move nearer to employment.

It is a flexible pot of money and is not prescriptive on the types of activities it will fund and is open to test and learn new ways of working.

It can fund proposals that look to work with those furthest from the labour market, that might start with engagement type activities or low cost enrichment qualifications that will enable someone to move into employment that aren’t delivered free of charge by mainstream providers or are eligible under the government’s learner loan scheme.

What is the funding criteria?

We are primarily looking to target unemployed people that have low skill levels and are looking to move into employment or further training. We also want to give people the opportunity to acquire new skills, or start their learning journey while they are not working so they are more equipped to find work once they are in a position to do so, for example those on Income Support or Employment Support Allowance.

Other groups we are keen to support are people affected by the welfare reforms, in particular the benefit cap, people in receipt of discretionary housing payments or other hardship support funds, lone parents who will have to go onto Universal Credit once their youngest child turns five and people with more severe and enduring mental health conditions.

We are keen to fund provision that is engaging or evidence based and has literacy and numeracy embedded within it as well as confidence building and where possible financial awareness including budgeting skills.

We won’t fund provision or support that is; already available, not targeting our priority groups, not value for money, new posts or provision that is delivered by staff or volunteers that are deemed not suitably qualified or experienced.

We are also really keen to hear from groups and frontline workers that don’t want to deliver provision but are looking for support for particular individuals or groups so we can look to link them up with appropriate provision.

The funding is significantly reduced year on year and from past experience we have managed to get some significant outcomes for small amounts of funding. Therefore, we will be looking at funding projects up to a maximum of approximately £4000 and will not fund multiple projects in one organisation unless there is an underspend or evidence that an intervention highlights additional gaps or areas of support are needed.

We will also work closely with colleagues managing other pots of funding under the Connecting You theme and link you in with these grants if we think they are more appropriate to fund your activities, although this won’t guarantee you will be successful in obtaining funding.

Application and decision making

Although we recognise that engagement with the groups identified is key; we do expect providers to have a good understanding of the skills and employment landscape as well as provision that can support people with some of the wider determinants that may have an impact on people, especially things like health and wellbeing services and support.

Monitoring and evaluation

We expect all projects to fully engage with the skills, work and health team and benefit from the wider support available. Provide progression routes especially with some of our mainstream programmes currently taking place and involve them in the delivery, so they can dovetail additional provision and support.

Regular monitoring visits will take place and projects will have to provide evidence based on the above as well as outcomes, although this will be made as simple as possible.

Data Protection and Safeguarding

You must comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018.

You must submit your information in the application form including full details of your proposal including costs and benefits. Any personal information you provide in the application is shared with the panel and used only for the purpose of reviewing the grant application and the ongoing administration and management of any grants that are awarded.

We may publicise projects on social media, our website and to other members of the public via press releases.

You have the right to remove consent at any time and to ask that information about you is removed from our systems. There are occasions where we may need to retain sufficient information, for example to evidence funding that's been distributed, but we'll ensure we comply with data protection legal requirements.

How to apply

We are inviting community organisations and other providers at this stage to complete and send Expressions of Interest forms which can be found in "Downloads". This will be ongoing throughout the financial year or until the funding has been utilised. Please send the completed form to Danny Astridge on the email address:

On receipt of the application form we will endeavour to make a decision within four weeks of receiving it. Applications will be shortlisted based on the extent to which the project:

  • Responds to a clearly identified need.
  • Offers quality provision, with a comprehensive project outline, that clearly meets the funding theme (Learning and Employment Support Fund).
  • Support is safe and has plans for sustainability.
  • Represents value for money including demonstrating social value.
  • Is able to report on outcomes and activity effectively.
  • Is not already being delivered by other commissioned provision.

Completing the application

Section 1

About your organisation

Please state the name of your organisation and include the details of the person who will be the main contact for your organisation. This individual will be the main contact throughout the life of the project. Please ensure the information provided is correct and up to date, as funding information and monitoring requirements will be sent to this individual. We may also contact this individual if we have any clarification questions regarding your application.

Organisation address

The address you provide in section one of your application form must be your organisation’s current registered address. This must also be the same address included within your supporting documents.

We will only accept the home address of a trustee or main contact if your organisation doesn’t have an office.

Brief description

Here is where you need to give an outline of what your organisation does. For example, the services it offers and who these services are targeted towards.

Amount requested

In this box you need to enter the total amount of money you are requesting from the fund. Please be aware there is a limit to the amount of money you can request.

Section 2

Proposed activity

Begin this section by providing a brief description of what activities will make up your course. If you are applying for an individual then please explain what activities you intend for them to undertake. Include a start and end to your activities date if applicable. 

You then need to provide details of each individual activity that will be completed, how many hours the participants will spend on each activity and the number of learners that will complete each activity.

Section 3

Venue address

Here you need to give the addresses of venues the activities will be delivered from. 

Section 4

This is where you need to explain who the target group is and the rationale for it. Focus on what characteristics mean that this group need more support. This may include age, employment status or education level.

You also need to explain why you are offering the support. For example, is it to improve the participants’ work related skills or will there be other benefits such as improved confidence or better life skills. 

Section 5

In this section you should demonstrate what expertise your organisation has in working with the target group. For example, you may have provided a course to people in the past or a member of your staff may have a qualification relating to the activities you are planning.

Section 6

You need to provide a breakdown of the funding required and details about other funding you are in receipt of.

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