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Investing in the future: Commission announces 10 million pound funding programme for voluntary and community sector

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has announced a new GB-wide £10.2 million Strategic Funding Programme, providing three-year project-based funding for community and voluntary sector organisations of up to £450,000.

The Commission is particularly keen to fund activity that directly serves and involves individuals and local communities, that meets an unmet need, and that has the potential to inspire and inform longer-term activity that helps promote the Commission’s objectives.

There are three key priority areas:

•A first priority area will fund organizations providing guidance, advice and advocacy services in areas including education, health and employment, as well building capacity where there are gaps in local provision, for example for women who have experienced violence.
•A second priority area will support increased co-operation between groups -- including ethnic or religious communities -- in areas where there are known tensions.
•A third priority area is support for legal advice and awareness of legal rights. This will operate as a separate Programme which is expected to launch in June
Last year, 27 pan-Scottish projects, from communities across all the Commission’s mandates, benefitted from the grants programme, from inclusive living, LGBT and women's aid projects to innovative work on supporting emerging leadership in the areas of disability and race, coming from all geographical areas of Scotland, from Inverclyde and Inverness to Dundee and Stornoway.

For this year’s grants programme, two application-focused funding surgeries, providing information, advice and guidance to those voluntary and community organizations who wish to apply or funding will be held, in Glasgow and Dundee, on the 28th May and 1st June, respectively. The application process employs a new and simplified two stage procedure to reduce paperwork and bureaucracy and ensure that applications that don’t meet the Commission’s criteria are identified at an early stage. Improved monitoring will ensure value for money throughout the lifetime of each funded project.

Scotland Commissioner Morag Alexander, said:
“In tough economic times, people who are on the sharp end of discrimination and inequality are more in need of support than ever. Community organisations that give people skills, support and access to opportunity play a vital role in keeping communities together, building the strong, prosperous and inclusive Britain we all want to see. Through supporting this vital grass roots work, which is often under-funded and under-appreciated, the Commission will make a daily, tangible, and invaluable impression on the lives of thousands of individuals.”

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