The expression of interest has been submitted for the LA's ESF bid and we are waiting to hear if they have been asked to progress to the next round. Once this happens we will be working with the LA's to ensure that the VCFS has opportunties for delivery within the model.
We met with Cheshire East Council, Chester Voluntary Action and Warrington Voluntary Action to review what kind of process we can build into the ESF bid to enable local VCFS organisations to access ESF funding and deliver services. As a group we have shared different potential ways to commission the sector and will be working together to make sure there is a process that will be accessible to small organisations.
The bid being developed will apply for funding under the ESF priorities for;
- 1.2 - projects delivering support to young people NEET or at risk of NEET; or aged up to 24 and disengaged from mainstream activity and
- 1.4 - projects to ensure that individuals affected by multiple disadvantages receive appropriate support that will facilitate progression to skills development and employment
An outline application is currently being developed and if successful a full bid will be submitted. It will be some time, if the bid is succesful, before funding is available but we will keep this section updated.
We attended a meeting today with representatives from the LEP and local authority who are developing a bid to access ESF funding to discuss the potential of a grant scheme. What was agreed from the meeting was that rather than a grant scheme the model being developed would have the opportunity, through a framework, for VCFS organisations to apply to deliver specific services to meet the clients needs.
CVS is committed to working with the local authority on the development of this and ensuring that the process developed will be accessible to small organisations.
CVS is involved in a partnership providing technical assistance to organisations wishing to bid for ESF money. Over the last 18 months we have been promoting the inclusion of Community grants as an option for the Local Enertprise Partnership (LEP), the body that decides the priorities for the funding.
Over the last few days there have been a few developments, with the support of Cheshire East Council and some statistics on other community grant shcemes provided by our partner Network for Europe, the potential for this to happen has improved. There are further meetings planned and we hope that we will be able to convince the LEP and other partners that a Community Grant scheme for Cheshire and Warrington would be a good way to utilise the ESF investment.
A community grant scheme developed would potentially be targeted at small VCFS organisations (less than £500k turnover), deliver grants of up to £20,000 and aim to work with individuals that need support to seek employment or develop their confidence and skills to get them closer to being able to secure employment.
We will keep this blog updated as the negotiations over the next few weeks progress.
If you have any questions our Chief Executive Caroline is leading on this, you can contact her via email email@example.com or 07792 754904