Throughout 2015, SpeakUp Forum’s focus has been directed toward the Building Better Opportunities (BBO) programme, ensuring that the voluntary sector in East Sussex is informed about the large funding opportunity provided by the European Social Fund through South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SE LEP) and match-funded by Big Lottery Fund. The programme will provide a total of £16 million to the SE LEP area.
The BBO funding goes to projects that support people furthest away from the job market with specific focus on the following target groups: disabilities and long-term health, mental health, carers, older people, lone parents and those with difficulty sustaining employment. Whilst the funding is open to applications for grants from organisations across all sectors, it is very well suited to providers from the voluntary and community sector.
It was our role as one of the project development funded organisations to ensure the sector in East Sussex was informed and able to build partnerships with relevant lead organisations to bid for BBO funding. Apart from regular briefings directed at the sector through a variety of channels, SpeakUp Forum organised two events in preparation of the opening of the fund. The first event, held in Hastings in May, aimed to raise awareness and clarify burning questions of the sector in regard to the funding. The following event in Ashford in August involved networking to bring together potential leads and delivery partners for the SE LEP South area (East Sussex, Kent & Medway), which we hosted together with IMAGO.
SpeakUp Forum directly communicated with over 80 organisations throughout the project development phase and reached out to over 5,500 individuals through newsletters.
The deadline for the first round of applications for the BBO programme in the SE LEP area was on 30 November. We assume to have word on which bids will go to round 2 in January 2016. You can find more information on Building Better Opportunities
on this website.
SpeakUp Forum will continue to influence SE LEP on behalf of the sector in East Sussex to ensure voluntary and community sector organisations will be included in relevant future funding strands.