Oxford City Council has been awarded the contract by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) to deliver the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s (OxLEP) Community Grants Programme.
The programme makes £387,000 available for community projects, to be run in Oxfordshire, to support people facing challenges in getting into work or accessing further learning and training.
OxLEP has identified specific groups who face particular difficulties in accessing the job market. These include those who are homeless, ex-offenders, people with physical disabilities or long term health conditions, single parents and the over 50s.
Local organisations can apply for grants of between £5,000 and £50,000.
Councillor Susan Brown, Board Member for Customer and Corporate Services said: “I would encourage community projects working with people who are not currently employed to apply for grants. The Community Grants Programme is a great opportunity to help you support local people who need help to be able to apply for jobs. It is also an excellent opportunity for Oxford City Council to show once more that we deliver more than our traditional services for the people of Oxford.”
Employment levels in Oxfordshire are high, but there is a significant skills shortage in the county that means many companies struggle to recruit staff. Developments like the new Westgate Centre in Oxford will create more employment opportunities, including many entry level positions.
The OxLEP Community Grants Programme aims to prepare residents so they can access these kinds of jobs.
The first round of funding will focus on people who:
- are homeless
- have a recent offending history
- are recovering from drug and/or alcohol addiction
- have English as a second language, or
- are refugees who qualify to work in the UK.
There will be a launch event at Oxford Town Hall on 26 October. It will aim to provide information to organisations interested in bidding and promote opportunities for organisations to work together on bids.
Further funding call are planned for January and March next year and these calls will be marked with events in other parts of the county.
The funding for the OxLEP Community Grants Programme is provided by the European Social Fund (ESF) in partnership with the Skills Funding Agency.