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ESF Community Grants

The Education and Skills Funding Agency has contracted with LLC to act as a managing agent and to make ESF Community Grants available in the form of small grants (up to £20,000) to third sector and other small organisations for the purpose of mobilising disadvantaged or excluded unemployed and inactive people to enable their progress towards employment.

The London LEAP, the Coast to Capital and the SELEP LEP have all invested ESF funds to deliver a Community Grants programme for the region from 1st April 2019.

Working with the voluntary and community sector, the programme will support people with multiple and complex barriers to participation to address these underlying issues and to move closer to or into the labour market

LLC has been successful in bidding to operate as the commissioning body for the London South and Coast to Capital and now the South-East LEP contracts. As such we would like to invite Expressions of Interest from eligible organisations to apply for grant funding which meet the priorities and criteria for the contract.

The ESF Community Grants are funded by the European Social Fund. 

To be successful in applying for a Community Grant, Applicants must be a Third Sector Organisation (any size which operates within the Third Sector) or Small Organisation (Employ fewer than 49 full time equivalent staff and have an annual turnover or balance sheet equal to or below EUR 10 million).

Grant Applicants must be able to provide their last year Financial Returns.

Any organisation that falls outside of this remit is ineligible for a grant and as a result any submitted bid that does not meet these criteria will be automatically rejected.

Organisations that access grants need to be well placed to reach excluded individuals facing barriers, which hinder their access to mainstream provision Grants will:

  • engage with marginalised individuals and support them to re-engage with education, training, or employment.
  • will support a range of activities aimed at assisting the disadvantaged or excluded to move closer to the labour market by improving their access to mainstream ESF and domestic employment and skills provision; and
  • will provide support to the hardest to reach communities and individuals, especially those from deprived communities, to access employment or further learning and training.

Key Priorities:

The objective of the Community Grant is to enable locally targeted support for areas of need as consistent with the challenges set out in the Skills Strategy and to:

  • develop the capacity of the community and to meet local needs;
  • undertake activities that promote social inclusion;
  • build employment and enterprise skills through the voluntary and community sector;
  • provide intensive support to help upskill individuals and move towards and enter work; and
  • engage those individuals who are the hardest to reach through innovative approaches.

Organisations that access the grants must also offer some of the following types of activities for your service users:

  • First contact engagement activities, e.g. activities that benefit Participants who are not normally in contact with official organisations for example but not exclusively DWP, FE Colleges, for example by arranging events or training in places that Participants feel comfortable to visit.
  • Projects to improve confidence, motivation and social integration such as sport, gardening, music, art and other creative activities.
  • Developing local networks and groups to support people to get a job or access learning e.g. Job Clubs or Learning Champion type activity.
  • Softer skills development e.g. assertiveness, anger management and motivation.
  • Innovative approaches to attract under-represented Participant groups into learning.

Participants targeted must be 16+ (not earning any type of income and not registered on any type of training or courses):

  • Participants over 50 years of age
  • Participants with Mental Health, Disabilities and/or Learning Difficulties (LLDD)
  • Homeless people
  • ex- offenders
  • LGBTQ+
  • Participants from an ethnic minority (BAME)
  • Participants who are Women
  • Parents/mothers
  • Carers
  • Migrants and refugees
  • Groups with low labour market participation

The LLC Community Grants Strategies for all three regions 2019 are available for download here




For further details please click on the region you would like to apply for, on the left-hand side menu of this page.

Further information about successful awards of Grant Funding – London South here.

Further information about successful awards of Grant Funding – Coast to Capital here.

Be the first on our Successful Awards of Grant Funding for the South-East LEP…

The London South ESF Community Grants have now been fully allocated. No future Panel is due to be scheduled. LLC will review the situation early 2022 and decide if another London South Panel needs to be organised. Please keep an eye on our website or contact Zaia Merabet for further clarifications.

The closing date for the Coast to Capital (C2C) Expression of Interest (EOI) is Monday 3rd January 2022 at 23:59.

While considering all Applications, the C2C Panel will aim to allocate the rest of the Grants available to organisations that deliver projects within Epsom and Ewell (Surrey), Mole Valley (Surrey), Reigate and Banstead (Surrey) and Tandridge (Surrey),  and who target ideally but not exclusively BAME, 50+, No Basic Skills and who are Economically Inactive.

The closing date for the South-East LEP (SELEP) Expression of Interest (EOI) is Friday 7th January 2022 at 23:59.

Future panel dates for the community grants can be found here.

For LLC ESF community application guidance, please click here.

For ESF contract guidance, please click here.

You can download the Coast to Capital EOI here: ESF Grants – Coast to Capital – Expression of Interest

You can download the South-East LEP EOI here: ESF Grants – South-East LEP – Expression of Interest

Is your Borough not listed above?

  • If you deliver in Barking & Dagenham, Bexley, Bromley, Enfield, Greenwich, Havering, Newham, Redbridge or Waltham Forest, please contact Groundwork on 02072301390 or communitytraininggrants@groundwork.org.uk
  • If you deliver in Central London (Camden, Lambeth, City of London, Lewisham, Hackney, Southwark, Haringey, Tower Hamlets, Islington, Wandsworth, Kensington & Chelsea, Westminster), or West London (Barnet, Harrow, Brent, Hillingdon, Ealing, Hounslow, Hammersmith & Fulham), please contact Community Grants – Paddington development Trust (pdt.org.uk) on 020 8092 4466.

If you would like to find out more then please contact Zaia via the following details:
Tel: 0208 774 4040
Email: community.grants@londonlc.org.uk

Hear from Zaia Merabet, Contracts and Audit Manager of London Learning Consortium below talking about the ESF Community Grants, a great opportunity to improve your local community.



During the Christmas holidays, LLC offices will be closed from the 24th December 2021 and we will re-open the 4th January 2022.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.