The application window for round one of 2018’s RBS Skills & Opportunities Fund is now open. Community organisations can apply for grants of up to £35k/€35k to support eligible projects or project ideas focused on financial capability and enterprise.
Applications can be submitted until Friday 23 February 2018. A shortlist of projects in each region* will be put to the public vote from Friday 6 April to Friday 20 April 2018, with the winners being announced on Friday 25 May 2018.
One organisation that has recently benefitted from the Skills & Opportunities Fund is Cornwall Marine Network (CMN) Ltd, an organisation dedicated to supporting the profitability, growth and innovation of the marine sector in Cornwall.
CMN’s spokesperson said: “Our Get on Board initiative, a marine apprenticeship programme for young people most in need in our local area, was made possible by the Skills & Opportunities Fund. It has been a major success: Penair School, Restormel Alternative Provision Academy and Helston Community College all took part and have reported a significant improvement in the positivity, confidence, self-esteem and team working skills of their participating students.
“As a direct result of the project, five young people have secured jobs, with an economic added value to the Cornish economy of £175,000 – equivalent to a 500% return on the Fund’s initial investment.”
The Skills & Opportunities Fund plays an important part in supporting and strengthening communities. Thom Kenrick, Head of Sustainable Banking Integration and Programmes at RBS, said: “We are extremely happy that the Fund has had such a positive impact in the three years since its launch, distributing a total of £7.5m (over €8m) to great local initiatives and organisations, helping over 95,000 people and their wider communities.”
Community organisations can apply for the Fund via the relevant website, eligibility criteria, regional priorities and case studies can also be found these websites:
RBS aims to support and strengthen communities and to help achieve this, it distributes £2.5m in funding annually to community organisations through the NatWest Skills & Opportunities Fund in England and Wales; Royal Bank of Scotland Skills & Opportunities Fund in Scotland; and the Ulster Bank Skills & Opportunities Fund in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
The Fund is aimed at not-for-profit organisations including charities, community groups, social enterprises and state-funded schools and colleges with existing or planned projects focused on financial capability and enterprise.
The Skills & Opportunities Fund is just one part of RBS’ commitment to supporting financial capability and enterprise in the UK and Ireland. Other initiatives include MoneySense – RBS’ flagship financial education programme for 5-18 year-olds, and Entrepreneurial Spark, which has opened 13 free business accelerators for start-ups in the UK to date.
* To ensure proportionate allocation of funding for the purposes of the Skills & Opportunities Fund, the UK and Ireland is divided into eight regions: London; South East; South West & Wales; Midlands & East; North; Scotland; Northern Ireland; and the Republic of Ireland.