NatWest has created a new fund for charities, social enterprises, community groups, state-funded schools and colleges across the UK and Ireland, to enable them to support disadvantaged communities, helping people to learn new skills, get into the world of work or set up their own business.
The Skills & Opportunities fund launches on Monday 11 May. Representatives of qualifying organisations can apply for funding of up to £35,000 for their projects via a new website http://skillsandopportunitiesfund.natwest.com. £2.5m of funding is available for 2015, which will be distributed across seven regions in the UK and Ireland, recognising that local priorities differ.
Applications for funding will close on Friday 22 May at noon. Each application will be assessed and a shortlist produced prior to being put forward for a public vote. Members of the public will be able to cast one vote in each region. Each region has a judging panel that will review all shortlisted applications, and together with the results of the public vote, which will count as one judge, will decide which projects receive funding. The first successful applicants will receive funding in July this year.
Sir Stephen Bubb, Chief Executive of Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO) welcomed the news:
“I welcome this new initiative from NatWest which recognises that the voluntary sector has a crucial role to play in making a positive difference to the lives of people in disadvantaged communities. I’m especially pleased that the bank is re-connecting with communities by taking these decisions at a local level where they can see at first hand how charities and not-for-profit organisations are working to deliver real long-lasting social change.”
Ross McEwan, RBS Chief Executive said:
“We’ve been helping to make a difference in our communities for generations. Now, through our new Skills & Opportunities Fund, we want to help more people learn new skills, get into work or start a business. By helping people help themselves, we build stronger communities and we can all grow. If it matters to our local communities, then it matters to us.”
To learn more about the fund or to apply for funding visit