*Applications for Round 3 of funding are now closed*

How much grant funding is available?

The total awarded through the European Social Fund Community Grants programme is £617,268 across the South East LEP area.

Each area has been allocated a budget, based on claimant count.

AreaTotal Grant Amount
Essex  £179,007.92
Thurrock    £30,863.44
Southend on Sea   £43,208.81
Kent £228,389.41
Medway     £49,381.50
East Sussex    £86,417.62
Total £617,268.70

How much can I apply for?

Organisations can apply for grants for projects between the values of £10,000 and £20,000.

Which organisations can apply for funding?

  • Small organisations from any sector (that employ fewer than 49 full time equivalent staff and have an annual turnover equal to or under £10 million or balance sheet equal to or below £10 million)
  • Third Sector Organisations of any size

What is the funding for?

Projects that support people furthest from the labour market to raise their skills and confidence and help them to move towards a positive destination and into learning and/or employment.

Projects funded by Community Grants can deliver a range of activities including but not limited to:

  • First contact engagement activities, e.g. activities that benefit participants who are not normally in contact with official organisations, for example but not exclusively DWP, FE Colleges, for example by arranging events or training in places that participants feel comfortable to visit.
  • Projects to improve confidence, motivation and social integration such as sport, gardening, music, art and other creative activities.
  • Developing local networks and groups to support people to get a job or access learning e.g. Job Clubs or Learning Champion type activity.
  • Softer skills development e.g. assertiveness, anger management and motivation.
  • Innovative approaches to attract under-represented Participant groups into learning.

Projects must be delivered in the South East LEP area to residents of the South East LEP area and can run for a maximum of 12 months. You can use the interactive map of postcodes in the SELEP region that is available in our resources section to check whether your proposed activity is within the SELEP area

Who will the funding support?

Participants on grant funded activity MUST be:

  • Aged 16 years and over and unemployed or inactive;
  • Legally able to reside in the UK (and work in the UK) during the period of ESF funded support;
  • Participants must live in the South East LEP area and all outcomes must occur within 28 days of the project ending.

What will the grant need to address?

The South East LEP have identified priority groups who are furthest from the labour market groups which the grant are intended to prioritise

  • Participants over 50
  • Participants who are women
  • Participants with disabilities
  • Participant from ethnic minorities

Overall the grants programme must achieve the following outcomes:

Outcome description% cohort – minimum
Progression to Employment including Self Employment17%
Progression to Education or Training on leaving14%


Bids need to include how the project will meet at least one of the South East LEP priorities:

  • Develop the capacity of the community and meet local needs
  • Undertake activities that promote social inclusion
  • Build employment and enterprise skills through the voluntary and community sector
  • Provide intensive support to help up skill individuals and move towards and enter work
  • To engage individuals who are hardest to reach through innovative approaches
  • What proportion of participant will achieve progressions

How you will support your participants to progress

Progressions are defined as

  • A start on a programme of education and training at a higher level than completed on the ESF programme OR for a minimum of 20 guided learning hours at the same level
  • A start in paid employment or self-employment

Progressions must be achieved within 28 days of the participant’s completion of the ESF funded activity.

When can I apply?

Applications for Round 3 of funding are now closed.

How will I know when the funding calls are open?

Details of the funding calls will be posted on this website. If you have also submitted your details for applying for a grant we’ll send you an email to confirm future dates. If you haven’t already, please submit your details on our Apply page.

How do I apply?

Applications for round 3 of funding are now closed.

Can I apply if I have previously submitted an application for a South East LEP ESF Community Grant?

Yes. If have not been successful in your application you may apply again in a further round. If you have been awarded a grant, then completed the project and fully spent your funding, then you can also apply again.

How will my application be assessed?

We will appoint local panels who will review the applications and assess which are successful. Panels will be made up of representatives from district councils, the South East LEP and local organisations. They will use a scoring methodology to ensure that applications are reviewed fairly and consistently.

What can the grant be spent on?

  • Staff costs directly related to delivering your project (where not already funded through other sources)
  • Running costs of the project (e.g. stationery, room hire, and marketing and publicity costs). You will need to include a breakdown on your application form of these costs and how they have been calculated.
  • Training and course costs
  • Administration costs directly associated with the project. Please note you need to ensure you have allowed time to complete the reporting (claim and monitoring requirements) of the programme. It is important that you have included reasonable administration costs within your budget to cover this.
  • Costs associated with the project (e.g. equipment, materials, participant travel costs, participant childcare costs, participant carer costs etc.)

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list and if you have any queries about eligible costs please contact us for further information.

What will be the requirements for grant holders?

Grant holders will be expected to report regularly to CXK on their project. This includes information about participants, the activity, outcomes and project spend. Standardised paperwork will be given to the grants holders which they will be required to complete and return to CXK. Branding and marketing guidelines also need to be adhered to.