Access to Work for Job Seekers Grants


Introduction
Winchester City Council is committed to helping job seekers to find work and has allocated funding to assist apprentices and job seekers.

What is it?
The Access to Work Grant is for residents of the Winchester District, who have been offered a job after being unemployed for at least six months immediately prior to the job offer. It is a one-off grant of up to £1,000, for the sole benefit of the job seeker, and is designed to remove any practical barriers which might prevent them taking on their role. The grant can be applied for at any time during the financial year using a short application form, which can be downloaded below.

Who can apply?
Applicants must prove that they live in the Winchester District, and be able to prove a need for the grant which will not be met by other means.

What are the timescales?
Applications will be subject to an assessment and scoring mechanism, then allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. The application will be acknowledged on receipt, and will be assessed within a three week period. If the application is successful, the applicant will be asked to provide further evidence such as proof of residency within Winchester District, and a grant agreement will be drawn up and signed by both parties within one further week. Therefore, a grant could be available to a successful applicant within four weeks of the application.

What can the grant be spent on?
The application form should clearly state what the grant would be spent on or contribute towards, and why it is needed. This should be on items required to allow job seekers to fulfil their role, which are not otherwise supplied by the employer. These are grouped into categories and may be split into any one of these or a combination, up to the grant limit of £1,000:
1. Transport costs to the workplace for the first month of employment (which could include our Wheels To Work scheme)
2. Appropriate clothes for the workplace
3. Essential equipment (e.g. tools, personal protective equipment (PPE))
4. Anything else which is essential for returning to the workplace that is not usually provided by an employer

This is not an exhaustive list, and it is not expected that job seekers would seek a grant to pay for costs which their employer should legitimately be meeting. The grant can potentially be used for any cost for the employee of returning to work, which is not reasonably met by their wages, benefits, training provider, employer or other grants applied for. The Economy and Arts Development Manager at Winchester City Council will make the final decision over the eligibility of the application.

How will the grant be paid?
The grant will normally be paid by BACS unless a more appropriate method is agreed as part of the grant assessment process. It is extremely important that you do not spend prior to formal notification of grant approval.

Key criteria
1. The applicant must provide evidence that they have been offered a permanent job
2. The applicant must have been unemployed for more than six months prior to being offered a job, and have been or are receiving Universal Credit, Jobseekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance or Income Support
3. A completed, signed application form must be submitted.
4. The application form should clearly set out what the grant will be used for, and why it is needed.
5. Supporting evidence such as a list of items provided (or not provided) by the employer, or other evidence as to why a grant is needed and the items cannot be funded elsewhere, should be submitted with the application form.
6. The job seeker must remain in employment for 13 weeks. If they leave before this they will have to pay the money back in instalments to Winchester City Council
7. The grant recipient may be required to take part in general publicity regarding the scheme, such as photo calls, providing quotes for press releases and to assist in the evaluation of the scheme.
8. The grant may be split into several payments at milestones to be agreed as part of the grant assessment process.

Winchester City Council Audit Checks
Winchester City Council reserves the right to visit you at home or at work to check grant purchases have been made in accordance with the grant scheme criteria, application form and grant agreement.

Notes to applicants
Successful applicants will be required to sign a grant agreement, and will be subject to a 13 week review to ensure the grant has been spent in accordance with the application form and grant agreement. A successful applicant is responsible for their own tax liabilities as a result of receiving this grant.

Winchester City Council has allocated funds to support job seekers in this financial year and this may not be available in future years. Applications will only be approved where there is sufficient budget to fund the grant.

If you are considering an application please refer to the criteria document first.

For help and advice in using the new online application form please contact:

Economy and Arts Support Officers (Carol Hussey and Zoe Sipsma)
Tel: 01962 848 196 or 01962 848 303
Email: businessgrants@winchester.gov.uk