Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman launched the second round of community grants that will aim to help disadvantaged people get back into work and learning.
Not-for-profit small to medium voluntary sector groups based in Tower Hamlets are eligible to apply for grants between £5000 and £12.500.
Under the first round of grants, more than 1000 economically inactive people were helped to look for work or further learning. Projects funded in the past have included food cooperatives and a community café.
Tower Hamlets Somali Organisation Network, which works with the local Somali community, is one of the voluntary groups that benefited from the grants last year, with funding of £6250.
Mustafa Ibrahim, a THSON member, told EastLondonLines: “We have been using the grant to increase employability in the Somali community. We’ve offered programmes to teach people how to complete applications, how to write a CV. Basically how to get a job.”
Ibrahim said that about 12 people have been employed so far with the help of the grant, although it is at an early stage and the project is not finished.
A council spokesperson said: “Tower Hamlets has a thriving voluntary and community sector, with over 1,000 organisations staffed by dedicated people and volunteers, all working for the benefit of the local community.”
The Tower Hamlets Council for Voluntary Service will be offering free community grant application workshops through October.
Steve White of the THCVS told EastLondonLines: “A lot of people don’t like the bureaucracy side, but THCVS is here to help them. There’s a lot of support from us.”
“They will be regulated by the European Social Fund, which is quite strict. So that will be good for the organisations.”
The voluntary sector groups that wish to apply must have been established before September 30 last year and have an income of less than £150.000 in the previous financial year.
The programme, funded by the European Social Fund, will be matched locally with money from Tower Hamlets and administered through London Councils.
Two rounds of funding will be available, both consisting of £405.000, with the deadline for applications being November 5.