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About the London Councils' Grants scheme

London Councils grants scheme was originally set up on abolition of the Greater London Council (GLC). Section 48 of the Local Government Act 1985 enabled London boroughs to fund voluntary action in the capital through a joint scheme which is now provided by London Councils. Funding is allocated in rounds: at present, London Councils’ schemes are closed for applications.

The Leaders’ Committee sets the overall funding strategies, policies, and priorities for grants to voluntary organisations. Decisions on individual commissions, funding of applications and programme operation are made by the Grants Committee comprising members of each of the 32 London boroughs and the City of London.  The programme currently has four priorities:

  • Homelessness
  • Sexual and Domestic Violence
  • ESF tackling poverty through employment
  • Providing support to London’s voluntary and community organisations

For more details on our funded projects and their outcomes, please see our Grants Directory

London Councils recognises that by working in partnership, organisations can share ideas and best practice, widen the reach of service delivery and gain access to different funding sources.  London Councils encourages partnership working as it helps us to ensure services funded by our grants programme are truly delivered pan-London.  Most of our funded projects are delivered via voluntary organisations working together in partnership, where London Councils funds a lead partner which manages the partnership, handles reporting, and is responsible for distributing funds among the delivery partners.

London Councils and ESF

The European Social Fund (ESF) was set up to improve employment opportunities in the European Union and so help raise standards of living.  London Councils has Co-financing Organisation (CFO) status; this means it is a recognised commissioner and distributor of ESF funding.  Since 2007 London Councils has been a part of the London ESF programme, which is under the strategic direction of the Mayor and is administered by the GLA’s European Programmes Management Unit (EPMU).  Each CFO has prepared an ESF Co-financing Plan which sets out the activities, outputs and results that contribute to the employment and skills priorities in the Regional ESF Framework.  It aims to help people fulfil their potential by giving them better skills and better job prospects.

In addition to using ESF to contribute to the grants programme detailed above, London Councils’ CFO status allows individual boroughs or groups of boroughs to commission ESF co-financed projects.  For every pound a London borough contributes ESF will match it, doubling a borough’s potential investment in jobs and skills.