Changes to the Skills & Opportunities Fund

Since The Natwest Skills & Opportunities Fund launched in 2015, across the RBS group they've given away almost £5 million to a total of 236 not-for-profit organisations that help people in disadvantaged communities to develop, create or access the skills and opportunities to help themselves.

NatWest awarded 183 of these organisations funding, totalling almost £4m to help support projects in communities in England and Wales, while the remaining 53 organisations were awarded funding totalling over £970k by Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank, to help support projects in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland respectively.

This year, we’re making a few changes. Here’s what’s changing and why:
• the Fund is all about giving communities the opportunity to have their say on what matters to them locally. So, instead of having one overall £1.25 million group Fund per round, we are now dividing up the pot to create three individual Funds to allow us to focus on what’s important in the local communities we live and work in. The NatWest Skills & Opportunities Fund will be allocated £1m per round to award to projects in the NatWest community, covering England and Wales
• we are also changing some of the criteria we use to award the money. Not-for-profit organisations can still apply for up to £35k to support projects that help people in disadvantaged communities. However, we will now focus specifically on projects that help people to start or develop a new business, now or in the future, as well as on projects that help people to become financially capable. We believe that helping people to gain the skills they need to turn their lives around helps to build better communities for everyone; and when we build stronger communities, we all grow

The window for applications is open from now until 12 midday on Friday 24 February. So if you have a new or existing project in mind that could use a funding boost of up to £35k, then head to the NatWest Skills & Opportunities website for full details of how to apply. Don’t forget to check out the new entrance criteria.

Here’s a quick reminder of the dates you need to know:
• application window: open from now until 12 midday on Friday 24 February 2017
• public vote: open from Friday 21 April to Friday 5 May 2017
• announcement of winners: Tuesday 6 June 2017

Look out for the new NatWest Skills & Opportunities website launching soon – when we will also bring you updates on how previous winners have used their funding to make an impact in our communities. This is a link to the current website