Edinburgh Council chiefs set to hand out £2.7m in three-year employment drive

COUNCIL chiefs are set to hand out almost £2.7m to help people into employment over the next three years – despite groups being forced to bid for funding from a shrinking pot.

Wednesday, 20th March 2019, 7:42 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th March 2019, 7:48 pm
Council chiefs are set to hand out almost £2.7 million over three years. Pic: fizkes/Shutterstock

Housing and economy committee members are due to approve the award of employability grants to third sector organisations – with 17 funding bids set to be given the thumbs-up by councillors.

If rubber-stamped, £956,930 will be handed over in 2019/20 and £865,604 will be awarded in both 2020/21 and 2021/22 through the council’s Capital City Partnership. The projects recommended for successful bids include groups that support disadvantaged young people, people with convictions and “those with multiple barriers to employment”.

But funding has reduced from 2015, when the employability grants were last agreed, and almost £1.4m was given out annually. Up to 25 bids are set to be rejected by councillors including a £36,000 plea for the Out Of The Blue training programme and £72,344 towards Four Square’s connected employability service.

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Almost £75,000 is set to be awarded to Action for Children’s youth build project which will help develop careers in the construction industry for 16 to 24-year-olds. More than £37,000 has been bid by Canongate Youth for an employability programme, aimed at those with mental health problems and experience of care.

Cyrenians is set to have a £40,000 bid approved for an employment support project for people with multiple barriers to work – including those with criminal convictions, mental health, trauma and substance misuse history. Another funding bid by Cyrenians of £75,000 would secure cash for a programme for young people aged 16 and older who are in danger of “negative 
destinations” on leaving school. Edinburgh City Council says it engaged with groups to draw up priorities for the new criteria for funding to be awarded. Third sector organisations were then asked to submit proposals for consideration – which were required to show the need, impact the work is likely to have and how it complements established services.

The authority insists that grants are allocated based on needs and given to the projects that will be most effective in supportive job seekers and will only hand over funding to projects for work that is not being carried out elsewhere.

In a report to councillors, officers said: “Although recommendations cover a three-year grant period, grant agreement includes a provision for annual review alongside the council’s budget setting process and can be amended according to available resource.”

The council set up a project board to help support and shape the review of the criteria for awarding the grants with members from a number of key organisations.