Oxford City Council is to extend the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s (OxLEP) Community Grants Programme, to further support disadvantaged groups across Oxford and Oxfordshire.
It follows an announcement by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to extend the current programme, which was due to end Saturday 30 June 2018, until Sunday 31 March 2019. The additional funding opportunity has arisen as a result of the change in value between the Euro and the Pound, as European funding is provided to the UK in Euros.
The extension should allow the City Council to access an additional £215,000 – equivalent to 50% of current funding, increasing the existing £430,000 programme to a total project value of £645,000. This would see grant funding available to community groups increased to over £500,000, with the remaining 10% of funding provided for administration costs.
The proposal to access increased funding was approved by the City Council’s Executive Board on Tuesday 17 April 2018.
In May 2016, the Education and Skills Funding Agency awarded Oxford City Council the contract to deliver the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s (OxLEP) Community Grants Programme through the Council’s Welfare Reform Team.
Through the programme, all voluntary, community and faith organisations across Oxfordshire can apply for a grant of between £5,000 and £50,000.
The programme aims to increase social inclusion through supporting residents across Oxfordshire not in work in overcoming complex barriers which can help them access training and employment opportunities. These include those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, those affected by chronic ill health, anxiety and depression, refugees who qualify to work in the UK, those who are long term unemployed, and others.
Through the current programme, a total of £392,591 of grant funding has been allocated to 16 community based organisations across Oxford.
These groups are:
- Ark-T Centre – ‘Our Voice Is Our Power’ project
- Aspire Oxfordshire – ‘Enabling pathways to employment for refugees and ESOL learners’ project
- Asylum Welcome – ‘Enabling pathways to employment for refugees and ESOL learners’ project
- EMBS Community College – ‘Enabling pathways to employment for refugees and ESOL learners’ project
- Workers Educational Association – ‘Enabling pathways to employment for refugees and ESOL learners’ project
- EMBS Community College, Ark T, OYAP Trust, RAW Workshop, Young Women’s Music Project – ‘Take 2’ project
- Farm-Ability – ‘Doing, Belonging, Becoming’ project
- Film Oxford and Fusion Arts – ‘iCreative’ project
- Incredible Edible Oxford – ‘Incredible Edible’ project
- Leys News – ‘Community Learning and Training’ project
- Oxfordshire Play Association – ‘Get Qualified’ project
- Soha Housing and Employment Action Group (Berinsfield) – ‘Launchpad’ project
- Startuponline – ‘Breaking The Cycle 2’ project
- The Porch – ‘Steppin’ Forward’ project
- Yellow Submarine and Friends of Hill End – ‘Can Do’ project
The allocation of funding is to be confirmed by the European Social Fund in May.
Paul Wilding, Revenue & Benefits Programme Manager said: “We are very happy that we are looking to extend the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s (OxLEP) Community Grants Programme. The grant funding provides valuable support to organisations in helping disadvantaged groups overcome barriers to employment, access training opportunities and ultimately get into work across Oxfordshire.
We are happy to have seen the results of the programme already in Oxford. Finding employment can change someone’s life and the work of the community groups that receive this funding is irreplaceable.”
Find out more about the ESF Community Grant programme.