Thursday, 9 February 2017

Royal Bank of Scotland's Skills and Opportunities Fund

The Royal Bank of Scotland's Skills and Opportunities Fund is aimed at projects that will promote education, develop skills for employment and help people to start a business.
PLEASE NOTE: this is a application process that involves a public vote (which has turned into today's theme), the results of which are ‘taken into consideration’ by Regional Judging Panels.
£2.5 million is available in two funding rounds during 2017.
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 restriction for schools or colleges. While there is no specific match funding requirement, a financial and in-kind contribution from the applicant or partners is encouraged.
The UK and Ireland has been divided into seven regions, each with its own decision making board, in order to distribute the Fund. Although all regions will be looking to fund projects that enable people to help themselves, each will have differing priorities recognising regional differences. 
Applicants should look at their region's priorities and make sure that their application responds to the criteria. For the South West and Wales area priorities, follow this LINK.
Projects must be able to meet these priorities set for their region and focus on:
o A disadvantaged community within the UK or Republic of Ireland;
o One or more of the following themes:
> Enterprise and entrepreneurship; and/or
> Financial capability.
Projects must be completed within 18 months of receiving a grant award.
A disadvantaged community could be a geographical community suffering from a high level of deprivation (this can be checked using the Index of Multiple Deprivation) or a ‘community of interest’ such as young people, lone parents, a Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) community, and/or those with disability.
No more than 25% can be spend on capital costs, which are a fixed one-time expense incurred on the purchase of land, buildings, construction and equipment.
Not-for-profit organisations, such as a charity, social enterprise, or community group can apply. State-funded schools may also apply.
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.
Universities cannot apply directly; however, they can partner with a non-for-profit organisation which will make the application as the lead applicant.
The following organisations and projects are not eligible for funding:
o Those that have received funding from the RBS Inspiring Enterprise programme, Large Grants programme (which is currently open to applications in Scotland only), the Skills & Opportunities Fund or the Ulster Bank Community Impact Fund during the last 12 months;
o Those that compete with existing bank programmes;
o A local authority or public sector body (i.e. Councils, ministerial and non-ministerial departments, agencies and public corporations);
o Those that are sectarian or political;
o Universities (although see the note above), ex-service/veteran not-for-profit clubs, trade unions, fraternal, or professional societies;
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); or
o Those seeking funding for a capital-only project (funding for capital costs must not exceed 25% of overall project costs).
There will be two funding rounds in 2017:
o Round 1 closes at midday on Friday 24 February 2017; while
o Round 2 will take place in August 2017.
Applications must be made online and can only be made during the application period.
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 programme are:
PNE Group
Design Works
William Street
Felling NE10 0JP
Tel: 0191 438 7999

(Source: GRIN)

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