SFA launches Community Learning Innovation Fund

A new community learning fund has been launched today by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA).

The Community Learning Innovation Fund (CLIF), which will be managed by the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE), will provide grants worth up to £65,000 to learning providers and other organisations.

The funding, worth £4 million in total, will support projects which offer “imaginative community learning opportunities” for adults between September 2012 and the end of July 2013.

Geoff Russell, chief executive of the SFA, said: “I am pleased to announce this Fund.

“We have recently celebrated Adult Learners’ Week, and been inspired by how learning can transform people’s lives by giving them increased self-confidence, a better quality of life, building stronger families and communities.

“We know there is no one-size fits all model of learning, and what is really exciting about this Fund is that it empowers community organisations to think creatively about how they respond to the needs of local people in a sustainable way.”

NIACE say grants will be awarded to projects which widen participation in learning, develop stronger communities and link up with the Community Learning Trusts led by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

“We have seen with the recent Adult and Community Learning Fund how even a very small project can make a huge difference to the lives of individuals, their families and the communities they live in,” said Sue O’Gorman, programme manager at NIACE.

“We are delighted that the Skills Funding Agency has been able to continue their vital support for these kinds of initiatives.

“We want to hear from groups and organisations from across the country which recognise the kind of learning that adults want and need in their communities.

“Together we can help transform the destinies of some of the most marginalised people in society by helping them to progress in ways that are most relevant to their lives.”

A prospectus published by NIACE says the funding can be used for all aspects of the project, including salary costs, equipment, staff training and marketing.

Grants worth £50,000 or more must be submitted to NIACE by June 28.

However, bids for projects worth less than £50,000 can be submitted by midday on July 5.

The prospectus says successful bids will be informed on August 16, with contracts issued “as soon as possible thereafter”.