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Community Support Fund (CSF)

What is the CSF?

The Community Support Fund (CSF) will support the most vulnerable within our communities, including those who’ve suffered disproportionately due to COVID-19. The project aims to provide the vital first step towards learning, training and work.

This new £1.5m programme is a key part of the West of England Combined Authority’s Recovery Plan. It will support those who face the greatest risk of negative social, health or economic consequences as a result of the pandemic.

The projects and proposals supported through the CSF must also help individuals access other programmes, projects and services, including: Employability and skills portal; Adult education budget; Digital Skills Investment Programme; Future Bright; Workforce for the Future; and the Careers Hub

They should also support key partners like local authority ‘one front door services,’ Restart, Kickstart, Work and Health Programme, JETTs and local initiatives.

CSF event pack


In early March 2023, the Community Support Fund (CSF) Team ran a series of 5 themed online events as part of their stakeholder engagement work. The events were intended for both CSF delivery partners and the wider VCSE sector, and successfully engaged 100 attendees from over 50 organisations. The sessions were packed with information on opportunities and further partnerships across the region. There was a wide variety of contributions from supporting services as well as colleagues at the Combined Authority.

We have collated the information from the events into a useful event pack which we’ve made available for you to download.

If you would like documents in another format, we are happy to provide an alternative format. Please contact

Download the event series information pack

Community Support Fund

Programmes we are funding

We are already funding a number of programmes through the Community Support Fund. You can find out more about these programmes here:

The programme will host a variety of creative events in key areas around BaNES engaging local residents in one to one support and mentoring, individual pathway mapping, employability skills training, with a view to provide confidence and support to reduce barriers in accessing employment in the creative and digital tech industries.

The Connector programme is a creative programme that provides women and young people opportunities to explore and play with digital design and digital fabrication equipment. Connector equips participants with the confidence to progress onto training and local volunteering opportunities in South Bristol.

The Community Farm and long term partner, Ecowild, deliver a wellbeing programme near Chew Valley Lake aimed at supporting people with mild to moderate mental health needs. The programme will support participants to build confidence, take the next steps towards self-management and good mental health, as well as support their progression to either work, volunteering or further learning. If you want to talk to someone about the programme, please call Daisy on 07878 925567.

Power Up! is a 5 week employability programme that gives people the work skills they need to take the next step in their career. Offering two courses – one aimed at women and one for young people aged 16-25 (male and female) online or facee to face.
Power Up! introduces participants to a new world of opportunities in the ‘green jobs’, construction and trades sectors. We showcase the vast array of career opportunities within these sectors, many of which do not involve manual work and are suitable for both men and women from all backgrounds. For more information contact

Our programme aims to tackle unemployment and underemployment in South Gloucestershire particularly among racialised groups that have been disproportionately affected by covid. Supporting people to take steps towards the career they want or to get back into work by equipping them with the skills, confidence, networks and opportunities to secure employment, places in training programmes, volunteering, or the skills and knowledge to set up their own social enterprise.

We will do this through a 4-month programme of innovative in-person and online interventions which progressively prepare participants to be ready for the workforce through upskilling. To have an informal chat or join the programme, contact Azelie on

Partnering with Ashley Community Housing to deliver a tailored programme of training and support (both in-person and remotely), that improves employability prospects of ESEA residents and their families, as well as explores further opportunities for their personal development. For more information contact

Weekly creative sessions held in Bedminster that empower participants to visualise and map their journey to further education, volunteering and employment using a variety of creative tools and exercises, storytelling, and social enterprise fundamentals, alongside peer-support, networking and mentoring. Participants will work alongside acta staff and each other to imagine and articulate what their goals are in terms of gaining further skills, and volunteer and employment opportunities. This is done in a fun, aspirational and supportive environment, with participants learning from and being inspired by each other.

The project is aimed at isolated older people aged 50+, refugees, unemployed, women and BAME residents in BS3 and wider south Bristol area. For more information contact

Working to improve the employability skills of 30 young people (aged between 16 – 25) with SEND through a 3 months virtual programme. Improving steps towards employment, training or further education as well as improving their mental health and wellbeing through exploring creative writing, as well as building valuable connections within their community.

Eastside Community Trust are offering two skills development programmes in the Easton and Lawrence Hill area of Bristol. A Volunteering Programme for adults living in the local community to develop new employability skills alongside volunteering opportunities. Plus a Playwork Programme aimed at young people (aged 19-25) offering training and work experience to build towards employment opportunities in the playwork sector.

More details coming soon

Empire Fighting Chance are offering a boxing and careers programme that integrates non-contact boxing training with a range of careers activities to support young people (aged 19-25) from areas in East Bristol (Ashley, Lawrence Hill, St Judes, Barton Hill, Easton). The programme offers boxing sessions alongside personalised 1:1 careers support, employability training and opportunities to meet employers.

More details coming soon

The Peer Academy is designed to enable socially excluded people to undertake accredited Peer training, and use lived experience to provide peer volunteering roles. Facilitating participation in digital skills, employability schemes and routes to employment. The project intends to produce a toolkit for community organisations to launch their own Peer Support Service.

More details coming soon

To engage refugee and marginalised BAME groups (focus on young adults) in employment skills and training that strategically aligns with the employment demands of the region.

More details coming soon

A training programme tackling unemployment that builds financial resilience, providing education in income maximisation, on to work experience and readiness to work in the care sector, where there is a labour shortage.

This project covers Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset.

More details coming soon

Support marginalised young people (NEET) in overcoming barriers to accessing, engaging in and sustaining EET opportunities.

More details coming soon

Step IT up will use the architecture of the “Horumar Somali Women’s Programme”, to create an inclusive peer programme for women from minority groups or those furthest from employment in Bristol and Bath to gain employability skills.

More details coming soon

Focusing on improving health and wellbeing of young people into the Prince’s Trust support system for further progression in employment and skills. This will operate with brand new themes, activities and modules for young people experiencing low mood, anxiety, with a loss of motivation and healthy lifestyle.

More details coming soon

Voscur will deliver a 10-month programme engaging women from marginalised communities and supporting them with volunteering opportunities and starting-up social enterprises.

More details coming soon

Growing People programme proposes to run courses, placements and activities for people experiencing mental health challenges. These will be based in supported outdoor environments at one of four city farms in Bristol, in different locations to bring down barriers such as travel or unfamiliar environments.

More details coming soon

The project’s aim is to offer adults gardening sessions that combine therapeutics and expertise with a view to building emotional resilience and confidence in new skills.

For more information please email

More details coming soon

Bath City Farm has launched a new work placement programme that aims to develop peoples’ skills and confidence in retail, catering and hospitality, site maintenance or horticulture.
Trainees choose an area of work that interests them and attend once a week for 12 weeks to gain real on-the-job experience in a busy but welcoming and nurturing environment. Staff with technical knowledge work closely with the trainees to develop new skills and earn AQA Awards to prove their abilities. They also have the opportunity to be provided with career advice and will then be signposted to other volunteering opportunities, work placements, courses and have help writing their CVs then searching and applying for work.
For more information please contact:

Creativity Works will deliver a bespoke, newly developed 18-week programme of training, delivered in blocks of 6 weeks, with wrap around support. Creativity will be used as a tool to support individuals to overcome multiple barriers which prevent them from gaining employment.

The programme will increase self-employment opportunities for participants to work creatively in community settings - delivering creative workshops, creative commissions and using creative tools to consult with communities. The training programme aims to build confidence, capacity and resilience within our communities and progress participants into further work, training or volunteering.

Participants may go onto to train, volunteer or work in a creative sector or into health and social care, play work, youth work, mentoring or other community development or community support roles.

To take part in the programme individuals will need to be unemployed, underemployed, economically inactive, and have an interest in creativity, but do not need to be artists or wish to work as artists. Priority will also be given to people who identify with one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Young People (19-25)
  • Women
  • Lone parents
  • Black, Asian or ethnically diverse individuals
  • Disabled People / Long Term health conditions (including mental health) / Learning disabled people

More details coming soon

Babassa is a Bristol-based programme for young people from minority ethnic backgrounds who are either NEET or at risk of becoming NEET. The programme will inspire and enable young people to acquire skills needed to reach their potential - consisting of workshops, mentoring, work experience tasters, as well as pathways into business enterprise and education.


The Bristol Somali Resource Centre’s skills programme provides in-depth 121 mentoring for people in Bristol’s Somali community who have experienced long-term unemployment or insecure low-paid work. The programme includes mentoring to identify key barriers, plan medium/long-term goals, and support to develop employability skills and identify new opportunities.

Community Support Fund (CSF)


Applications no longer open.

There have been 2 funding rounds as part of this project. They are currently no longer live, but information on funded projects can be found on this page.

If you have further questions about the fund, if you want to be added to the communications list or want further information on and the programmes please contact with CSF in the subject line. “

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Further information

Details of further community and/or localised funding can be accessed through the local councils: