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Funding opportunities for voluntary and community groups

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) today announced a new £10.2 million Strategic Funding Programme, providing three-year project-based funding of up to £450,000 for community and voluntary sector organisations.

A first priority area will fund organizations providing guidance, advice and advocacy services in areas including education, health and employment, as well building capacity where there are gaps in local provision, for example for women who have experienced violence. A second priority area will support increased co-operation between groups -- including ethnic or religious communities -- in areas where there are known tensions.

A third priority area is support for legal advice and awareness of legal rights. This will operate as a separate Programme which is expected to launch in June.

The Commission is particularly keen to fund activity that directly serves and involves individuals and local communities, that meets an unmet need, and that has the potential to inspire and inform longer-term activity that helps promote the Commission’s objectives. The new funding programme builds on the Commission’s 2008-09 interim programme, and is at the core of a soon to be launched three year strategy which will set out the Commission’s vision of a Britain built on principles of fairness, equality and respect.

A series of local funding surgeries, providing information, advice and guidance to those voluntary and community organizations that wish to apply for the funding will be held across the nine English Regions, Wales, Scotland and from 18 May – 3 June 2009.

The deadline for applications for strategic funding is 5pm, June 12, 2009. Results from the first tranche of applications will be announced towards the end of July 2009.

The programme includes a simplified two stage application process to reduce paperwork and bureaucracy and ensure that applications that don’t meet the Commission’s criteria are identified at an early stage. Improved monitoring will ensure value for money throughout the lifetime of each funded project.

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