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RBS invests £1.25 million in grassroots community projects across the country

Last year RBS gave away £2.5m in grants to community projects across the UK and Ireland through their newly launched Skills & Opportunities Fund. This year support for grassroots organisations continues with a further £2.5m and as the second round of 2016 funding concludes, 52 more projects will receive a share of £1.25m.

This second round of the Skills & Opportunities Fund saw over 800 groups put forward their bid for a share of £1.25 million. Of these, 91 were shortlisted and after public votes from over 24,000 people, 52 were selected as winners.

While every project that applies for funding tells its own story, supporting different communities in a variety of ways, each is bound by the drive to help people help themselves. All the organisations will help people in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the country to move forward in their lives by acquiring the skills and qualifications they need to find work, start a business or progress in education.

You can find out which projects have been successful where you live, and what they’ll be putting the funding towards on the Skills & Opportunities Fund website. Here is an example of some of the inspirational work the Skills & Opportunities Fund will be helping to sustain this year:

  • The Glasgow Bike Station is a social enterprise and charity providing access to low cost but good quality bikes whilst diverting tonnes of waste from landfill. Their Bike Station Academy will reach those disengaged by traditional academia, offering vocational qualifications in bike mechanics and supporting young people to set up their own bike hub for their school and wider community.

  •  Wintercomfort for the Homeless provide welfare support, learning, development and work experience opportunities to rough sleepers, the homeless, and those at risk of losing their homes. They plan to use funding to start their Food4Food programme, combining cooking and budgeting classes with work-experience in a year-long hospitality industry training programme for homeless people.

  • The QED Foundation breaks down the barriers that stop people from ethnic minority backgrounds from playing an active part in British society through education, training, and employment. Their project Let’s Talk Business will support Muslim women in the Bradford district to set up their own businesses or social enterprises.

  • Inner City Enterprise (ICE) are a not-for-profit charity established to advise and assist unemployed people in Dublin’s inner city to become self-employed or set up their own businesses. Through basic book-keeping workshops and with the help of a financial adviser, their service will give people access to tailored financial advice and training that they could not normally afford, helping them manage their business more efficiently and successfully.

RBS CEO Ross McEwan said: “Supporting the communities we live and work in is important to us. We want to match the commitment and innovation demonstrated by the projects that successfully apply to us for help, with funding, support and compassion. If we can be a part of helping even a few people turn their lives around through the RBS Skills & Opportunities Fund, then the investment will have been worth it.”

Thom Kenrick, Head of Community Programmes at RBS, added: “We are delighted to see the Skills & Opportunities Fund once again funding such a diverse and innovative range of organisations and projects. The RBS Skills & Opportunities Fund is supporting grassroots organisations that really know what their local communities need and this is clear from the success we are seeing in delivery of the funded projects. We’ve already supported over 31,000 people from disadvantaged communities: we look forward to sharing in the success of the projects we’re funding this time around and helping even more people.”

Applications for the next round of funding open in February 2017 with RBS set to dedicate another £2.5 million to projects supporting local communities.

To find out the full list of winners, visit:




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