Returners Fund Supporting People Back into Work After Caring

11th February 2019

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.

Under the recently launched third round of the initiative, the Government Equalities Office is looking to support potential Returners from groups facing persistent barriers to returning to work, such as:

  • People who speak little to no English.
  • People who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
  • People with no recourse to public funds due to their immigration status, but who have the right to work.
  • People with substance abuse support needs.
  • People with mental or physical health issues.
  • Victims of domestic abuse.
  • Ex-offenders.
  • People in challenging economic circumstances.
  • People who experience multiple barriers due to their gender, and their faith, sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Round 3 will distribute up to £500,000 to support eligible organisations to run projects. The upper limit for grants is £100,000. However, it is anticipated the majority of awards will be between £50,000 and £100,000. The grants are to be used for projects taking place in the twelve-month period commencing 1 June 2019.

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.

Minister for Women and Equalities Penny Mordaunt said:

“For too long caring responsibilities, language barriers or the terrible impacts of domestic abuse have held many women back from having the freedom, support and choice to do what they want to do.

“I want all these women to be given the chance to reach their full potential, which is why we are investing in them to grow their skills and their confidence, so they feel ready to return to work when they want to.

“By supporting women at all stages of their lives, we are tapping into previously ignored talent, addressing gender inequality in the workplace and helping our economy grow.”

Applications for Round 3 are now being invited. There is a one-step process for this round, with no requirement to submit an Expression of Interest form. Instead, applicants will be expected to submit full applications for funding from the outset.

The deadline for full applications is 8 March 2019.

View the FAQ’s here 

For full details and how to apply visit