If we haven't answered your question below, please contact the Skills & Opportunities Fund team.

Eligibility

  • Is my idea fundable?

    • We'll consider any application as long as your project helps people in disadvantaged communities to learn new skills that will enable them to become self-employed, set up their own business, grow their business or become financially capable.

      We also consider the regional priorities of each area – click on the regional priorities map to find out what they are in your area.

      As a general guide, we’ve funded projects that offer training, support, qualifications, work placements, employment, self-employment, career guidance and enterprise opportunities. For example (and this is not an exhaustive list), projects in the past have targeted women with low literacy and numeracy and no work experience, the homeless, unemployed people, disadvantaged young people, women in rural areas, students about to leave school, ex-offenders and those with a history of addiction.

      Basically, the projects we support are as diverse as the people they help.

  • Can my organisation apply?

    • You can apply if: 

      • You're a not-for-profit organisation or an eligible state funded education body e.g. charity, social enterprise, community group, school, college.
      • You're based in either England or Wales; Scotland or the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland.
      • You can demonstrate experience of working in and/or with disadvantaged communities.
      • You're able to demonstrate experience in measuring the impact of your projects.
      • Your organisation has a turnover of less than £10 million as shown in your most recent set of accounts or is a state-funded school or college.
      • Your organisation has traded for at least 2 years. (Not applicable to schools/colleges).

  • What counts as turnover?

    • Total combined turnover as stated in your last full year of your most recent set of company accounts. Your application will be rejected if you request a grant of more than 20% of the combined turnover.

  • Are schools eligible?

    • Yes, state-funded schools are eligible to apply.

  • My organisation has been going for years, but only officially constituted recently, are we eligible?

    • Unfortunately, no. We need to see the track record of your organisation to have confidence that you can deliver the benefit you’re proposing and ensure our funding is having the biggest possible impact on the community.

  • What constitutes previous RBS funding?

    • If you have received a grant from the Skills & Opportunities Fund or the Ulster Bank Community Impact Fund within the last 12 months, then you are not eligible to apply for a Skills & Opportunities Fund grant at this time and will not be eligible to apply for Skills & Opportunities funding until 12 months have elapsed from the date of receiving previous funding. If you have applied within the last 12 months to either Fund and have not received a grant however, then you are eligible to apply to this round of the Skills & Opportunities Fund.

  • Does my project need to meet the regional priorities?

    • Yes. Please click here for more details on the priorities in your area.

  • What do we mean by financial capability?

    • The Money Advice Service describes financial capability as: "giving people the power to make the most of their money and improve their lives. This means addressing all the factors that influence people’s behavior around money: skills and knowledge, our attitudes towards money, motivation to take action, and the accessibility of financial services."

      Financial capability projects often target specific vulnerable groups, such as those the elderly or those with additional needs, and may include but are not limited to: money management, budgeting, short and long-term financial planning, fraud awareness and financial abuse.

      Projects that support financial education, such as digital financial skills training for example are also eligible, as long as they do not directly compete with our own MoneySense financial education programme for 5-18 year-olds.

The application process

The funding