Most frequent questions and answers

ESF Community Grants are small grants of between £5,000 and £20,000 available to Third Sector or small organisations to enable them to support unemployed and economically inactive people into or towards employment, education or training. 

The Grants are funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), and managed in The Marches by Landau Limited.

Organisations must be Third Sector organisations, OR small organisations with fewer than 49 full-time equivalent staff, and a turnover or balance sheet equal to or under 10 million Euros (CURRENTLY APPROXIMATELY £8.6M).

No Sole Traders please.

Applicants can apply for grants for projects costing between £5,000 and £20,000.

No. The UK government has guaranteed that all projects funded under the ESF 2014-2020 programme period will have their funding honoured following withdrawal from the European Union, even if the UK exits without a deal.

For more information, please see: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/european-social-fund-esf-grants-if-theres-no-brexit-deal/european-social-fund-esf-grants-if-theres-no-brexit-deal

We particularly want to fund projects that will include support for eligible people who are unemployed or economically inactive and:

· Are over 50 years of age
· have disabilities
· are from ethnic minorities
· are women
· have been unemployed for more than 6 months

All participants you work with must be eligible to receive ESF funding.

You will be given template forms and accompanying guidance to capture the eligibility of those you are working with.

· Staff costs including employer’s National Insurance and pension contributions, and any taxable incentives linked to pay
· Reasonable overheads – you must tell us how you have worked these out
· Staff expenses such as travel or allowances
· Volunteer costs such as travel and subsistence
· Consumables such as stationery or essential software
· Venue hire
· Small items of equipment costing up to £1,000

IMPORTANT: One representative from all successful projects will be required to attend a mandatory briefing event between accepting their grant and starting delivery. You may wish to build in your staff time and travel costs for attending this event into your budget.

· Activities that will not contribute to the delivery of the targets we have identified on the project outline
· Activities or staff costs that do not represent good value for money
· Anything that is a statutory obligation or will replace statutory funding
· Anything you start or spend money on before we confirm our funding
· Equipment costing more than £1,000 per item
· Furniture and refurbishment or landscaping work
· Fundraising appeals, endowments and registration fees
· In-kind contributions of unpaid voluntary work
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· Loans, fines, bank charges and interest payments
· Projects that generate income or revenue
· Purchase of land or buildings
· Redundancy costs
· finance leases (for example, where the equipment becomes the property of the leasee at the end of the agreement)
· Second-hand equipment
· VAT you can recover
· Vehicles

Activities can include, but aren’t limited to: 

· Engagement activities – for e.g. visits to colleges etc. to raise awareness and increase participant familiarity with more formal settings.

· Activities to improve confidence, motivation and social integration (for example, sports, gardening, music and so on)

· Development of local groups and networks to support people to get a job or access learning (e.g. Jobs Clubs)

· ‘Soft’ Skills Development – for e.g. anger management, assertiveness or motivation

· Innovative approaches to attract under-represented groups into learning


· Core costs of running your organisation other than those directly associated with delivery of the project

· Activities promoting religious beliefs or political activities

· Activities that the state has a legal obligation to provide

· Fundraising activities for your organisation or any other group or activity

Click below to download our full ESF Community Grants Applicant FAQ document:


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