The Returners Fund

The Government Equalities Office is making £500,000 available for projects, especially outside London, that help marginalised women return to paid employment in England.

The Returners Fund is designed to focus on returner programmes within the private sector and those sectors/industries which are currently underrepresented in terms of returner opportunities. The focus is to establish new opportunities rather than develop opportunities that already exist.

There is a total grant fund of £500,000 for this round. It is expected that grants will be awarded between £50,000 and £100,000 for projects taking place between 1 June 2019 and 31 May 2020.

The focus is on returners from marginalised groups who face the greatest disadvantages in returning to the work place, for example:

  • Victims of domestic abuse, including economic abuse
  • People who are homeless or at risk of homelessness
  • People who speak little to no English
  • People with substance abuse support needs
  • People with mental or physical health issues
  • People who cannot access public funds due to their immigration status, but who have the right to work
  • Ex-offenders
  • People struggling to cope with their economic circumstances
  • Women who experience multiple barriers due to their gender and their faith, sexual orientation and/or gender identity

Applications will be accepted from all types of organisations as long as they can support Returners from marginalised groups. This includes voluntary and community sector organisations, social enterprises, training providers, local enterprise partnerships (LEPs), academic institutions, local authorities and private sector organisations. Employers of Returners can also apply for the funding.

Further information including the online application form can be found on the Returners Fund portal managed by Rocket Science on behalf of the Government.

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