About ESF Grants


Does your group want to help people overcome barriers and gain the skills and confidence to get back into work?


During 2012-13, the WEA administered nearly £2m over four rounds in the North West as ESF Community Learning Grants. These were grants up to a maximum of £12,000 per organisation to support some of the hardest to reach communities and individuals, helping people access further learning or training that could lead to employment. The funding could be applied for by small community and voluntary groups, registered charities & social enterprises, with preference given to organisations with a turnover of no more than £300,000 per year in each of the last 2 years.


The funded organisations delivered excellent projects which produced the following fantastic results:


  • Over 500 people gained a qualification

  • Over 250 went on to further education

  • Over 350 gained employment

  • Over 300 started regular volunteer work


In 2014-15, over a period of 18 months, the WEA once again ran the ESF Community Learning Grants in the North West with over £3m to inject into the community. Organisations could apply for a small grant of up to £13,500 to help fund courses and activities supporting individuals who are out of work, to assist them in accessing employment or further learning and training.


These grants could support a wide range of activities including:


  • Initial help with basic skills

  • Taster work experience, including voluntary work

  • Training, advice and counselling

  • Job search assistance

  • Confidence building and personal development

  • Support to individuals to overcome barriers to learning or employment


The programme was aimed at all people out of work, or those recently made redundant, but with a particular priority given to support for:


  • People with disabilities or health conditions (including those with learning difficulties, mental health issues or drug and alcohol dependency problems)

  • People aged 50 or over and seeking employment

  • People from ethnic minorities

  • Women

  • Lone parents

 This programme is now closed.