Nine organisations from across the region attended the event at NatWest’s offices in St Phillip’s Place, Birmingham and shared how the bank’s Skills and Opportunities Fund supported their work.
The groups included: Bangladesh Women’s Association, Birmingham; Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Stafford; Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust, Coventry; Wintercomfort for the Homeless, Cambridge; The Mighty Creatives, Leicester; Start Up Enterprises Partnership, Telford; Disability Resource Centre, Birmingham; Wolverhampton Citizen’s Advice Bureaux, and The Y (Leicester YMCA)*. All were awarded Skills and Opportunities funding by NatWest’s Midlands and East of England Regional Board.
Since the Fund’s launch in 2015, grants of up to £35k have enabled 186 not-for-profit organisations to support people in some of the most deprived communities in the UK and Ireland. In total £5m has been donated to help people access the skills and opportunities required to gain employment, progress in education or start their own business.
Janat Hulston, Chairman of NatWest’s Midlands and East of England Regional Board, said: “The Skills and Opportunities Fund has done incredible work to support our communities across the Midlands and East of England as well as the UK. It was wonderful to hear how the funding has been used by these organisations to support their projects and learn how fund has enabled a range of community projects.”
Applications are now open for the next round funding. This year, in order to maximise regional impact changes are being made to how the Fund is distributed, as well as to the eligibility criteria, which will ensure that funding reaches the causes that customers care most about.
The Fund will continue to be open to applications from not-for-profit organisations including charities, community groups, social enterprises and state-funded schools and colleges in the UK and Ireland that help people to help themselves. However, the focus for funding will now move specifically to projects that support people in disadvantaged communities to gain financial capability skills, or to start or develop a new business, now or in the future.