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Community Learning Innovation Fund open for applications

Young man looking for web design resources online with close-up of his hand on the mouse.
Wed, 06/06/2012

The Community Learning Innovation Fund, a new fund designed to support new and imaginative community learning opportunities that encourage adults to take up, succeed and progress in learning, is now open for applications.

Organisations from across England can bid for their share of £4 million from the Community Learning Innovation Fund for projects to develop and offer creative learning opportunities that engage and motivate, in particular, disadvantaged adults. Projects will be funded to run from September 2012 to 31 July 2013.

The maximum amount for any bid is £65,000 and the minimum is £10,000.

The deadline for applications for £50,000 or more is 12 noon, Thursday 28 June 2012.

The deadline for applications for less than £50,000 is 12 noon, Thursday 5 July 2012.

The Community Learning Innovation Fund will be administered by NIACE on behalf of the Skills Funding Agency, and will contribute to the Government's objectives for community learning set out on page 14 of the recent policy reform document from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), New Challenges, New Chances: Further Education and Skills Reform Plan: Building a World Class System (December 2011).

The Community Learning Innovation Fund can support a wide range of projects and activities in England - though all of them should deliver learning to adults. It will fund projects involving the development of creative community learning provision that:

• widens participation in learning and transforms people's destinies;
• promotes social renewal and develops stronger communities;
• maximises the impact of community learning on individuals, families and communities;
• is underpinned by effective strategies to sustain the work and its impact; and/or
• aligns with the work of emerging Community Learning Trusts, a distinct but complementary initiative recently announced by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Key themes of the Community Learning Innovation Fund

Projects should focus on one of the following themes:

• Learning for social and economic well being
• Learning for community
• Learning for families
• Learning for digital inclusion

What sorts of projects can be funded?

The Community Learning Innovation Fund can support a wide range of projects and activities. However, all proposals must:

• involve the delivery of learning to adults;
• have as principal beneficiaries adults aged 19 and over;
• focus on one of the key themes above (although some projects may also contribute to other themes);
• widen participation in learning and transform people's destinies by supporting engagement, learning and progression in the broadest sense for adults, especially those who are most disadvantaged and least likely to participate in learning;
• identify the difference it is hoped to make for individuals, families and communities and how this will be measured and evaluated;
• include proposals for community / learner consultation and involvement in decision making;
• include strategies and pedagogies appropriate to the target group;
• include arrangements for providing information, advice and guidance to support progression appropriate to the target group;
• involve partnership working;
• include clear proposals as to how successful elements of the work will be sustained after CLIF funding comes to an end; and
• be cost effective and offer clear value for money.

Who can apply?

The Community Learning Innovation Fund is open to learning providers in England regardless of whether or not they currently receive funding for community learning directly from the Skills Funding Agency. Bids are welcomed from public, private and third sector organisations from all backgrounds including culture, heritage, sport, health, community regeneration, environment, arts and crafts, broadcasting and technology.

How to apply

Applications can be made online only. Applications for £50,000 or more should be received by 12 noon, Thursday 28 June 2012. Applications for less than £50,000 should be received by 12 noon, Thursday 5 July 2012.

You can find out more information on the webpage, where a full Prospectus is available for download, along with Frequently Asked Questions which should answer most of your queries.

If you have any questions about the Fund please check online first. If you cannot find the answer to your query, please email clif@niace.org.uk. Your question will be dealt with within three working days.

Unfortunately NIACE will not be able to deal with queries by telephone and cannot enter into any correspondence once the closing date for applications has passed.