Solent Supporting Employment Programme-Round 2

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Please ensure you read the criteria below and guidelines (CLICK HERE FOR GUIDELINES) prior to applying for a grant.


The Solent Supporting Employment Programme has been created by Solent Local Enterprise Partnership and is supported by the European Social Fund, Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Foundation fund holders, Hampshire County Council, Portsmouth City Council and Southampton City Council

The programme is a result of the call issued by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to commission ESF funded projects that will support the Priority Axis 1 of the Operational Programme: Inclusive Labour Markets and Investment.

The fund has been created to provide grants to support organisations who are able to reach and work with individuals with complex barriers to employment, enabling them to move closer or into employment.

The fund provides grants of £30,000 to £60,000 to groups working in the Solent LEP area.  Priority will be given to those working in areas of the highest unemployment and deprivation.

Projects that support Solent LEP residents within Hampshire and Isle of Wight will be considered.

Project duration from June 2021 – December 2022


Please also ensure you check geographic eligibility by visiting the Solent LEP area map here

Status:   Closed
Opening Date:   1 Feb 2021
Closing Date:   1 Mar 2021
Minimum Grant:   £ 30000
Maximum Grant:   £ 60000

Location: East Hampshire, Eastleigh, Fareham, Gosport, Havant, Isle of Wight, New Forest, Portsmouth, Southampton
Causes: Education & Training, Employment & Labour, Social Inclusion, Volunteering


General Eligibility

The following organisations are eligible to apply for funding:

  • Local charities;
  • Social Enterprises and Community Interest Companies (CICs);
  • Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs) and other not-for-profit companies;
  • Unregistered, not-for-profit organisations;
  • Education establishments (excluding work in schools with pupils under 16 years of age and work in school hours).

The Strategic Partnership welcomes applications from groups operating in the Solent LEP Area who can offer an innovative project, which will result in economically inactive participants engaging in job search, training or employment and/or unemployed individuals engaged in training or employment.

Only one application per round from any one organisation will normally be allowed, although two applications, in distinctly different geographies in the Solent LEP area, may be accepted.  This fund is aimed at one-off costs and not aimed at on-going projects requiring annual funding.

All applications must clearly show how new and/or innovative ideas can deliver evidence-based pathways towards employment for the beneficiaries, and how projects will compliment, and not duplicate local provision. Please also see additional priorities by area below.

Grants will be awarded for projects up to 18 months duration.

Robust governance and accountability require related analysis, monitoring and evaluation to form an integral part of the programme delivery, therefore applicants need to be mindful of the significant reporting and evidence requirements on participation in the programme. Clear understanding and demonstration of capabilities here need to be made. More information can be found in the Grant Application Guidance document

All applications must also demonstrate how they will operate within the COVID-19 restrictions in supporting participants and the measures they have put in place.

Please note that attendance at a briefing webinar is strongly advised as part of the grant application process. Webinars will be held during February 2021 and can be found on the HIWCF website –

Target Beneficiaries

Projects will be focused on supporting people living in areas of deprivation and/or those who

experience significant barriers in the labour market, including but not exclusively:


  • People with disabilities or health conditions, including those with learning difficulties,
  • Mental health issues or drug and alcohol dependency problems;
  • People aged 50 or over and seeking employment;
  • People from ethnic minorities;
  • Women returning to work;
  • Lone parents;
  • Troubled Families;
  • NEET/unemployed (16-24) – particularly those leaving the care of the local authority or being involved in the criminal justice system;
  • People from neighbourhoods and estates where there are high levels of unemployment and deprivation including those in receipt of local welfare assistance.

Acceptable Project Examples

  • Activities which reach out to engage with those most distant from the labour market, e.g. arranging events in places that people feel comfortable to visit but need to demonstrate relevant results;
  • Involvement in community-based projects and supportive volunteering that help to guide vulnerable adults through supportive volunteering activities in order to develop employment skills and participate in job searching;
  • Activities that improve confidence, motivation, social integration and team building, such as sport and creative activities that will show progression into job search/ employment;
  • Developing local networks and groups to support people to get a job or access learningg. Jobs Club or Learning Champion type activity;
  • Softer skills development e.g. assertiveness, anger management, motivation and leadership that will lead to pathways to employment;
  • Basic skills support including numeracy and literacy to support job search / employment;
  • Job search assistance

Specific Priorities by Area


Grant applications that specifically support the following are encouraged:

  • Education, training and employment for care leavers and homeless


Grant applications that specifically support the following are encouraged:

  • Increasing employability and skills amongst adults with learning disabilities and/or autism
  • Increasing employability and skills amongst lone parents
  • Increasing Adult and Community Learning for disadvantaged adults (including, Males over the age of 50, and people with less than a Level 2 qualification)
  • Increasing digital literacy
  • Increasing progression into apprenticeships
  • Increasing employment and skills within people of BAME heritage


Grant applications that specifically support the following are encouraged:

  • Routes to Employment – structured evidence-based approach to support people towards employment focused on people with learning disabilities, physical disabilities and mental ill health.
  • Supportive Volunteering – divert people from organised activities to more bespoke longer term individualised self-directed activities.
  • Wellbeing Activities – that focus on social integration, practical acquisition and application of skills, that build individual resilience and social networks.
  • Develop opportunities that will directly benefit people who are either already in receipt of funded social care services, or are at risk of requiring funded services in the near future for example transition cohorts.


  • Organisations NOT based or active in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight
  • Projects not delivered in the Solent LEP Area or for the benefit of Solent LEP residents within Hampshire and the Isle of Wight
  • Physical environment, e.g. capital building costs
  • Projects where funding has been withdrawn by other organisations
  • Core Services to statutory agencies
  • Applications from individuals
  • Organisations whose objects are for the sole benefit or relief of animals or plants
  • Any party-political activity
  • Proselytising activities, i.e. active promotion of a specific religion or belief system
  • Local authorities
  • Commercial ventures
  • Equipment purchases over £1,000