Communities in the Marches could benefit from grants worth more than £1 million to help get more people into work, it was revealed today.

The European Social Fund’s new Community Grants Programme will see funding of up to £20,000 given to organisations to help support unemployed people through packages of training and support.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency has launched an invitation to tender for organisations to set up and run the grant schemes in the Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin and Herefordshire areas of the Marches LEP.

Stephanie Jones, Marches ESF Technical Assistance Officer, said: “The ESFA is looking to procure organisations to undertake the role of Grant Co-ordinating Bodies (GCB) to deliver a community grants programme.

“The Community Grants programme provides for small grants of up to £20,000 to small organisations in the voluntary and community sector to provide support to unemployed and inactive people to engage them and move them towards employment through packages of training and support.

“The Grant Co-ordinating Body will be required to market and promote the grants programme, manage calls for proposals from third sector and small organisations, assess applications, make grant awards and monitor and manage the grants that have been awarded.”

The contracts are funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) as part of a £42m allocation to the Marches LEP and co-financed by the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

The contract for Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin is worth £990,000 of which up to £860,000 would be available to award as community grants. For Herefordshire the contract is worth around £562,000 of which up to £468,000 would be available to award in grants.

For more information on how to apply for the tender, visit