Wednesday, 17 August 2016


The Royal Bank of Scotland’s (RBS) Skills and Opportunities Fund is a £2.5 million public-voting (see fina paragraph) scheme designed to support organisations that help people in disadvantaged communities develop, create or access the skills and opportunities they need to enable them to get into work or start a business, now or in the future.
A disadvantaged community could be a geographical area that faces a particular aspect of disadvantage or to a community of interest, such as women, Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME), etc.

There is no minimum grant. The maximum grant is £35,000 or 20% of the applicant’s previous year’s turnover. The upper limit of turnover is £10 million (there is no turnover limit for schools or colleges).
Not-for-profit organisations, registered charities, and state-funded schools and colleges based in the UK or Republic of Ireland may apply.  
Although match funding is not an essential requirement, applications will be scored on levels of match funding and in-kind support.
No more than 25% of the grant can be spend on capital costs, which are fixed one-time expense incurred on the purchase of land, building, construction and equipment.  
To be eligible, applicants must:
o Be based in either the UK or Republic of Ireland;
o Be able to demonstrate experience of working in and/or with disadvantaged communities;
o Be able to demonstrate experience in measuring impact of the projects;
o Have a turnover of less than £10 million or be a state funded school or college;
o Have been trading for at least two years (schools can be trading for less than two years); and
o Be able to complete the project within 18 months of the award.
The country has been divided into seven regions, each with its own decision making board to distribute the Skills & Opportunities Fund. Although all regions will be looking to fund projects that enable people to help themselves, each will have differing priorities recognising regional differences.
The priorities for the South West and Wales(see map halfway down the page) are:
o To support projects that will help people investigate self-employment and start their own business;
o To support organisations that help to improve the financial education of disadvantaged people and help them manage their personal finances more effectively; and
o The creation of volunteering opportunities for RBS staff.
The following organisations and projects are not eligible for funding:
o Those that have received funding from the RBS Inspiring Enterprise programme, the Ulster Bank Community Impact Fund, the Skills & Opportunities Fund or a RBS Community Grant, which was over £10,000;
o Those that compete with existing bank programmes;
o A local authority or public sector body (councils, ministerial and non-ministerial departments, agencies and public corporations are not eligible for this fund);
o Those that are sectarian or political;
o A university, an ex-service/veteran not-for-profit club, a trade union, fraternal, or professional society;
o Those seeking funding for costs not directly related to the project, or for excluded activities such as personal appeals, research projects or sports teams (unless the outcomes are related to employability, enterprise or education);
o Those seeking funding for a capital-only project (funding for capital costs must not exceed 25% of overall project costs).
The second and final round for 2016 has a 3 week application window. It opens this Friday, 19 August and closes at midday on Friday 9 September 2016.
Applications must be made online, which will only be possible once the scheme has opened on Friday.
When all applications have been received and reviewed, a shortlist of projects being considered for funding in each region will be published. Voting will then be open to the public. The outcome of the public vote will be taken into consideration by the regional judging panels. 
For further information, visit the Skills and Opportunities Fund website.
Contact details for the Fund are:  
The PNE Group
Design Works
William Street
NE10 0JP
Tel: 0191 438 7999
(Source: GRIN)

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