ESF funding rounds for London and Manchester

ESF funding rounds are opening in London and Greater Manchester.

The London Programme will continue to support people with complex needs to gain skills and find (or remain in) work, education or training. These are Londoners who already face disadvantage, and who are likely to be further disadvantaged by the impact of COVID-19. 

The deadline for applications is Friday the 10th July 2020. The programme is worth over £14 million. Each grant will be awarded for a maximum of three years and are expected to commence from September/early October 2020. 

London Assembly are seeking providers to deliver the below projects:

  • Gangs Prevention: This project will focus on supporting vulnerable young people in London who are at risk of being exploited by gang activity. It will focus on improving engagement with education and increasing employability.  This project will be for one pan-London grant of £3million.
  • Targeted NEET: Support for young people who have specific complex needs or characteristics and are NEET. This project will be for two sub-regional grants totally £2.6 million.
  • STEM Sector Skills: Support for adults and young people to gain industry relevant skills and progress into sustainable education, education or training in the STEAM sector. This project will be for one pan-London grant of £2 million.  
  • SEND NEET: Support for young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) who are not in employment, education or training (NEET). This project will be for three pan-London grants of approximately £2.2 million.
  • Creative Skills: Support for young people to gain industry relevant skills in the creative industry. 
  • Career Clusters: Improving the provision of careers education, information advice and guidance.  This model seeks to foster collaboration across schools, colleges and employers that maximise local and London wide opportunities. This project will be five pan-London grants of £400,000. 
  • Early Year Sector Skills: Support for adults and young people to gain relevant skills and find work in the early year’s sector. This project will be for one pan-London grant of £2 million.


The Manchester Programme is launching a targeted Grant Programme in response to COVID 19. This round is called Re-Connect and seeks applications from a wide range of voluntary organisations who are ready to reach out by using approaches which tackle the new and emerging barriers arising from the impact of COVID 19. Small grants of up to £20,000 are available across Greater Manchester to eligible organisations in the VCSE sector.

Projects should look to develop and maintain participant connections to learning experiences. Project activity should support, maintain and improve participant employability and resilience. All project activity must be within the current government COVID restrictions, but should include flexibility to adapt as and when those restrictions change in future months

The funding can help ALL who are out of work or economically inactive but especially those that:

  • Are homeless or at risk of being homeless
  • Have low or no qualification
  • Lack literacy and numeracy skills
  • Are lone parents
  • Have disabilities, learning difficulties or health conditions
  • Are from ethnic minorities
  • Are aged over 50
  • Young NEET people [aged 16 and above]

This programme covers the 10 Greater Manchester boroughs, and all eligible participants must live in Greater Manchester. The project start date must be on or after 1st August  2020 and all activity must be completed by 31st May 2021. The deadline for applications is 3 June.