*****The second round of applications are closing on 14 September 2018 at 5pm*****
The Returners Fund
A grant programme of £1.5million is available for organisations to run projects aimed at returners that:
create new job opportunities within the private sector and targeted employment sectors, including retail; law; tech and telecoms; science, technology, engineering and maths industries; creative industries;
could not otherwise be established by the market;
address specific barriers for returners and can be replicated at scale;
can demonstrate self-sustainability beyond the initial funding period of the grant;
increase understanding of how best to support a) returners to gain paid employment and b) employers to recruit and support returners.
The Government Equalities Office defines a ‘returner’ as a person who left paid employment for at least a year to take on a caring responsibility and would like to return to paid work at a level commensurate with their skills and experience.
The fund is offering grants to projects which help people to return to work in the private sector. This is part of a commitment made by the Prime Minister in the 2017 Spring Budget to help people back into employment after a career break. The Government Equalities Office defines a ‘returner’ as a person who has been out of paid employment for at least a year to take on caring responsibilities and would like to return to paid work at a level commensurate with their skills and experience.
The Expression of Interest (EOI) application process is open until 14 September 2018.
There was a high demand in Round 1 with 93 EOIs submitted, of which 16 projects were invited to submit a full application. An announcement on the successful projects is expected shortly.
The Government Equalities Office is particularly interested in receiving applications from the following for Round 2 in order to reach programme wide targets:
• Projects that target both parents and carers. In Round 1 the majority of applications have focused on carers.
• Projects that focus on understanding how we better support employers to hire and support employers. In Round 1 the majority of applicants have focused on returner related support and evidence.
• Projects from across the UK, but from the East of England and East Midlands in particular.
• Continue or complete your application to the Returners Fund at https://returnersfund.flexigrant.com/
This application process is managed by Rocket Science on behalf of the Government Equalities Office.
An event took place on Thursday 22 March from 2-4pm in central London to provide further details about the Fund, its application process and evaluation. The event was chaired by ERSA and included presentations from the Government Equalities Office, Rocket Science as the grants management agent for this Fund, and SQW, the external evaluator appointed to evaluate the the impact of this programme.
Below is the audio recording of that session. Please start the audio, 35 seconds after playing and for best results use earphones.
Play audio prerecording here. (player: google drive)
Please find below the full recording of the market engagement event. (player: Youtube)
Correction of one answer provided during this event:
• Are disabled people who have been responsible for their own care eligible to be supported by the proposed returners programme?
No. This programme is intended to help those who have taken time out of paid employment for at least a year to care for others.
If you experience any issues with either recording please get in touch with Laura Benfield ([email protected] / 020 3757 9415).
A second event took place on 16 July in Birmingham to support Round two of the Returners Fund. The slides for this event are included on the right.