A fund to support people, particularly women, in England back into work after time out caring has been announced.
The Minister for Women and Equalities, Amber Rudd, has announced a £1.5 million programme to support people back into work after time spent away from the labour market while undertaking a role in caring.
The Returners Fund offers grants to projects which help people to return to work in the private sector. These projects could help returners update their skills, provide other training or support businesses to increase employment opportunities for returners.
The Fund will prioritise projects that focus on small and medium enterprises (SMEs), employers outside of London, and projects that support returners at all skills levels. This is part of the government’s wider strategy to develop the evidence base on what may help to close the gender pay gap.
The upper limit for grants is £300,000. However, it is anticipated the majority of awards will be between £50,000 and £150,000. The grants can only be used for the start-up costs of new projects, training, and related support for returners.
All types of organisations in England that can demonstrate they can support returners are eligible. This includes voluntary and community sector organisations, local training providers, local enterprise partnerships (LEPs), academic institutions, local authorities and private sector organisations. It is anticipated that most of the grant recipients under the Returners Fund will be voluntary and community sector organisations, social enterprises and training providers.
Launching the Fund, Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, Amber Rudd, said:
“It is truly striking that nearly 90% of people out of paid work because they are caring for the home or family are women.
“Too often people struggle to get back into paid work after taking time out to care for others. That is a huge loss not only to those individuals, but to our economy and to businesses all over the country.
“That’s why I’m delighted to announce this government will be launching a £1.5 million fund to support people, particularly women, back into work after time out looking after children and other relatives.”
Expressions of interest for the first round of bidding must be submitted by 30 March 2018.