Skills & Opportunities Fund to make a greater difference in local communities in 2017


Skills & Opportunities Fund to make a greater difference in local communities in 2017

The window for applications for the first round of the 2017 Skills & Opportunities Fund is open from midday Friday 3 February to midday Friday 3 March 2017.

Supporting communities

03 February 2017

The Bolton Lads & Girls Club - winners of the 1st round of the Skills & Opportunities Fund 2016.

RBS is set to give away a further £1.25m in the first of two rounds of Skills & Opportunities funding in 2017.

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, RBS has donated £5m to help people access the skills and opportunities required to gain employment, progress in education or start their own business.

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.

 

Changes to how funding is allocated

Instead of one overall Fund, the annual pot of £2.5m will now be divided up proportionately between the three principle RBS brands. From 2017 onwards, £2m will be allocated to projects in England and Wales through the NatWest Skills & Opportunities Fund, £280k to projects in Scotland through the Royal Bank of Scotland Skills & Opportunities Fund, and over €175,000 to the Republic of Ireland and £70k to projects in Northern Ireland through the Ulster Bank Skills & Opportunities Fund.

 

Changes to eligibility criteria

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.

Thom Kenrick, Head of Community Programmes at RBS explains more:

“The Skills & Opportunities Fund is all about supporting local projects and charities to help people from disadvantaged communities. We have run this Fund for a couple of years and our community partners and customers are telling us that we can make the most difference by focussing on building financial capability and supporting enterprise, which is what we are continuing to do for 2017. Whilst the overall funding distributed will remain the same, these changes to the Fund will help us have a greater impact – and Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest and Ulster Bank customers will be able to vote for programmes that truly support those causes in their region.”

RBS CEO Ross McEwan also commented:

“Since we launched the Skills & Opportunities Fund in May 2015, we’ve had over 3,500 applications; shortlisted 367 of these and thanks to over 110,000 votes, we’ve awarded a total of £5m to 186 organisations.”

“As the Fund has evolved, we’ve taken the opportunity to make some changes. We hope that by giving the three new Funds more focus on enterprise and building financial capability in disadvantaged communities, we will see even more not-for-profit organisations applying and an even greater number of people voting for the causes they care about. It’s going to be a very exciting year, with lots of opportunities for everyone to get involved in making a difference.”

The window for applications is open from midday on Friday 3 February to midday on Friday 3 March 2017. Visit the NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Ulster Bank Skills & Opportunities Fund websites to find out more. 

Related articles

London organisations supported by Skills and Opportunities Fund

London Skills and Opportunities Fund winners explain how the funding will support their organisations in the future.

Vote opens on latest round of Skills and Opportunities Fund

Public vote to decide which good causes receive funding from £2.5m RBS Skills & Opportunities Fund opens today.

Latest news

Royal Bank of Scotland hosts ‘Easy Wins Live’ event

The event explored today’s ‘always on’ world and the pressure Scots face as they struggle to balance life inside and outside of work.

To win the fight against fraud and scams, it is vital to educate young people.

Primary school children in Currie, Edinburgh put on their detective hats last week to learn more about fraud and scams thanks to the Royal Bank of Scotland MoneySense programme. Les Matheson, CEO of Personal Banking, tells us why it’s so important to financially educate young people.

New NatWest debit cards now accessible for all customers

New card features are being rolled out from today with all cards having a notch and raised dots.

Set Tab for lightbox