5 - Top tips for planning your ESF Community Grant application

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

5 - Top tips for planning your ESF Community Grant application

BCTA and the Community Grants team have got together and come up with 5 top tips for planning your next Community Grants application.  Have a read, we’re sure you will be glad you did!


5 - Top tips for planning your ESF Community Grant application. 

1. Explain the participant journey well in your application

As a panel member, project and overall programme we need to be able to see what exactly your project will be doing.  A lot of projects often offer unique and bespoke programmes which are excellent for the participants, but you will still need to scope out a typical participant journey, demonstrate key learning points and what you hope they will get out of their time with you.

2. Think Digital!

The ESF Community Grants programme allows for small purchases up to £1000.  We often see that you are purchasing items of IT equipment for your organisation, but what about for your participants? You can buy tablets, dongles and 6 month data packages (max 6 month projects) and those assets will still be yours to retain after the programme.  You can loan these devices to participants for the duration of the project.  Obviously there is risk but as long as you have tracking methods i.e. GPS enabled, remote data wipe, it could really reduce the digital divide between you and your participants.

3. Think Eligibility!

We are often surprised that very few projects put in any participant costs in relation to eligibility such as right to live and work, obtaining copies of birth certificates etc.  Again, there is a caveat to this one, to claim the cost associated with the purchase it must have the participants name on.  If you send for a birth certificate and the participant doesn’t start on your project, then unfortunately you cannot claim that cost. They are relatively inexpensive (approximately £10) and this could ultimately be absorbed into your 15% overhead costs, if you are unable to claim for this expense.

4. Resources

ESF Community Grants projects rely heavily on human resources. From recruitment to sign up, starter, monitoring and exit – there is a form/signature and process for every stage.  You should have a good think about your staff and their roles. Could you bring in sessional workers? Could you harness volunteers? In terms of people resource, scope out what you need and add just a smidgen more, this will account for participants who need that extra support.

5. If you’ve not done this type of employment activity before – BEWARE! ESF Community Grants may not be for you.

We are always keen to hear from new groups and new activity in relation to skills and employment activities but please pilot them first.  Whilst most enjoyable activities can be linked to an opportunity for further skills development or a job outcome (i.e. self-employment) it doesn’t mean it is guaranteed success.  Tagging on CV writing to an art class, or a cookery session, however comprehensive, isn’t going to give you the results you need or the service that the participants deserve.  Use an easier funding method, pilot your project well, and then use all the lessons you have learnt before coming to Community Grants!


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