RBS Skills and Opportunities Fund Announce 44 Winners

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On May 24th, RBS announced the first 2016 round of winners of the RBS Skills and Opportunities Fund, sharing a total £1.25 million between 44 incredible community projects across the UK and Ireland.

Launched in 2015, the Fund provides support to charities and social enterprises that deliver projects for disadvantaged areas and groups, focusing on enterprise, employability and education. In its first year, the fund distributed £2.5 million between 90 projects. In addition to funding of up to £35,000 for each project, RBS also provides skills and expertise to some applicants, in particular supporting new or young projects to get the best start.

To support the RBS Skills and Opportunities Fund, PNE Group’s fund administration team reviewed 911 applications before a winners list was reached, providing assessment and supporting candidates with their applications.

From the 911 applications, 90 businesses were shortlisted and put forward for an online public vote, which attracted over 30,000 votes, and contributed to deciding the final winners.

Commenting on the announcement, Thom Kenrick, Head of Community Programmes at RBS said, “It is always inspiring to see the difference that the Skills & Opportunities Fund is making to people’s lives across the UK & Ireland.  We’re really looking forward to working with this year’s winners as they help more people from disadvantaged communities to gain qualifications, find work or start a business.”

Great projects included in this funding round included The Oasis Centre, Manchester, which works with vulnerable and disadvantaged adults to provide a range of care, including skills development programmes that focus on re-building esteem to motivate participants to enter employment; Cinque Ports Community Kitchen CIC, Deal, which provides learning on low-budget cooking to those who are unemployed or on a low-income, and run an initiative which helps some participants gain qualifications that will help them enter commercial catering; and Senitus project Digital You in Ireland, which will give 1,000 children access to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) learning, promoting the potential for entrepreneurship offered by all things digital.

A testament to its impact, the businesses responsible for delivering the RBS Skills and Opportunities Fund have been named on the shortlist for the Corporate Engagement Awards. The Royal Bank of Scotland Group’s RBSNatWest, and Ulster Bank, and PNE Group, have been nominated in the ‘Best Execution’ category, and will together face competition for the accolade from two other entrants.

If you think that that RBS Skills and Opportunities Fund could support your community project, the next round of 2016 funding will open in August. You can learn more about the Fund, view the most recent winners, view the application criteria, or sign up for updates on future application dates on the RBS Skills and Opportunities Fund website.