LIFT Community Grants

LIFT Community Grants: A funding programme for skills and employability support activity in Norfolk and Suffolk communities.



Community Grants are available to community and voluntary organisations that provide training or support to help people improve their chances of obtaining work. 


LIFT Community Grants is funded by the European Social Fund and will invest in attractive and accessible employability support projects in the form of structured learning.

Funded projects will support people to engage with the learning offered and enable people to progress onwards into employment or more formal learning and skills provision. It is aimed at smaller VCSE organisations based in Norfolk and Suffolk who are working at a community level with those who are furthest from the jobs market because they are:

  • 16-25 but not in education, employment or training (NEET)
  • older adults who have been long-term unemployed 
  • facing other barriers to work but can move into employment or self-employment with the right support
  • traditionally disadvantaged or discriminated against when it comes to finding work
  • in need of support to become confident and ready for employment and/or formal learning and skills provision 

Grants are available up to a maximum of £20,000 per project.


LIFT Community Grants can be used to cover up to 100% of the cost of a project.

We welcome applications from VCSE and other small organisations in the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (NALEP) area – i.e. based in Norfolk or Suffolk.

Applicant organisations must have an income/turnover of less than 10 million Euros in the last financial year (£8.61m at time of writing) and fewer than 50 full time equivalent employees. Part time and seasonal workers are counted as a fraction of a full time employee.

What sort of projects will be awarded a grant?


Funded projects must support groups of unemployed or inactive participants to engage with and benefit from at least one, accessible and structured learning course,  a group of courses and/or a structured practical experience and skills project. The aim should be to move people closer to or into employment and/or into more formal learning & skills provision.

The activity must be designed to develop their skills, build their confidence and to raise their aspirations and enthusiasm for engaging with other learning and skills provision and to exploring and apply for local self/employment opportunities. Applications are particularly welcome for projects that are new, innovative or unusual and applicants can apply for a Community Grant for a range of activities.

We would be particularly interested in supporting activity such as:

  • Engagement activities to provide support to individuals to overcome barriers to learning and/or employment
  • Confidence building and other soft skills support
  • Initial help with Basic Skills and accessing free Basic Skills provision
  • Work experience and voluntary work where acquisition of skills is structured
  • Non-accredited learning
  • Gaining skills linked to sectors with local skills gaps that offer apprenticeships and/or other training for career progression
  • Getting ready for interviews
  • Job search skills
  • Exploring employment in sectors with local skill gaps
  • Exploring self-employment options and what that involves.
  • Support for people to progress into employment and more formal learning and skills provision 

And we are particularly interested in projects that will benefit participants who are:

  • Long term unemployed
  • NEET young people aged 16+
  • Over 50
  • From an ethnic minority group
  • With a disability or health condition
  • Carers
  • Lone parents
  • Ex-offenders
  • Refugees or migrants

Find out how you can apply for a LIFT Community Grant


Decision making


 The final decision on grant applications will be made by either our Norfolk LIFT Board or our Suffolk LIFT Community Grants Board. LIFT Boards are grant-giving bodies passionate about their local communities and have a high level of local expertise. They provide the community leadership at the heart of LIFT. 

The New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership are represented on both Boards and are particularly keen to see projects coming forward from anywhere in the two counties that will help local employers to fill skills gaps enabling local people to increase their income and raise standards of living.  Another priority is for projects to come forward that will align with the work in the Opportunities Areas of Norwich and Ipswich.

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