We collaborate with a wide range of organisations, from local authorities to universities, from learning providers to local business organisations.

Our Board of Trustees has representatives from the voluntary sector, further and higher education and the local Chamber of Commerce.

South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership

The South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) supports an area covering the councils of Aylesbury Vale District, Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire, Cherwell District, Corby Borough, Daventry District, Kettering Borough, Luton Borough, Milton Keynes, Northampton Borough and South Northants, and with a £39 billion economy, 75000 businesses and 1.8 million population, SEMLEP is already designated as a national growth region.

SEMLEP’s role is to unlock the full growth potential of the area, which is already the second largest area for sustainable housing growth outside of London.


Building Better Opportunities

In Spring 2015 The Big Lottery Fund put up to £220m of Lottery funds, against a similar figure from the European Social Fund (ESF) 2014-2020, in order to support communities and people most in need across England, by offering funding for projects delivering against the ‘Promoting Social Inclusion and Combating Poverty’ part of ESF, which aligns with the Big Lottery’s own mission and priorities.

This funding was distributed through Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas, according to local priorities set by the LEPs, to support projects ranging from improving employability for the most disadvantaged, helping those with multiple and complex needs, or improving financial literacy.

SEMLEP overlaps with three other LEPs, Northamptonshire, Bucks Thames Valley and Oxfordshire, (all the second tier Councils are in more than one LEP), and SEMLEP has identified areas of additional need for support in Luton, Corby, Bedford, Central Bedfordshire and Northampton under the following headings:

  • Worklessness – overcoming barriers to work
  • Financial Inclusion – Tackling out of work poverty
  • Community Investment – Promoting and supporting sustainable, inclusive, economic development

In the SEMLEP area 3 organisations have been taken forward to stage two of the Building Better Opportunities application process:

  • Luton Borough Council – £40,000 grant provided to better develop plans to support young unemployed people, BME groups, people 45 and over, carers, adults with mental health issues or a learning difficulty, adults with health issues and ex-offenders to overcome barriers to move into employment. The development funding will be used for business development costs, partnership development, staff training and event costs.
  • Voluntaryworks Limited – £18,300 grant provided to better develop plans to support people who are furthest from the labour market and people who are at risk of social exclusion to become more work ready. The development funding will fund partnership development, advice and support workshops, development of training and staff training.
  • The Consultancy Home Counties Limited – £17,700 grant provided to better develop plans for project to support people who are unemployed or economically inactive to develop, launch and sustain effective organisations. Target participants will include people with few or no qualifications, young people, the long-term unemployed, people with mental and physical health problems, carers for children or a dependent adult, care leavers. The development funding will fund governance meetings, project development costs, and marketing.