Bedford ESOL Advice Service


Sept 2021

Community Grants from SEMLEP

The Community Grants programme has opened for its seventh round of applications on 6th September.

Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprises have until 12PM on the 30th of September 2021 to apply for grants of between £10,000 and £20,000 to deliver projects that help people in the hardest-to-reach communities get back into work or training.

For this round, we are keen to receive applications that can be delivered in line with the current COVID-secure guidelines, targeting those who have been made redundant, particularly those over 50 and those with disabilities.


Organisations interested in applying for funding are invited to start their applications by submitting a register of interest form via the SEMLEP website: Community Grants (

As with previous rounds, to help organisations understand the funding, eligibility and the application process, we are holding two information webinars. We strongly advise that anyone thinking of applying for the funding attends one of these events:


10.30 AM - 12 PM, Tuesday 7 September 2021, Community Grants Information Event: Book now.

3 PM - 4.30 PM, Tuesday 14 September 2021, Community Grants Information Event: Book now.

It would be greatly appreciated if you could share this information through your networks to interested organisations as we are trying to reach as many eligible organisations as possible.

To help, we’ve attached a promotional toolkit to this email. The toolkit contains graphics, suggested posts, press releases and other assets. Should you require any other promotional materials, please get in touch with our Communications Officer, Tayla Blackman (  

August 2021

                        Award of £280,000 for English Language Provision in Bedford Borough                                      


Following the success of previous programmes, Bedford Borough Council was invited by the Government to bid for further funding to deliver English language support.


The Council has been awarded £280,299 from the ‘ESOL for Integration Fund (EFIF)’ to deliver a further year of English language classes and outreach to help address the barriers which prevent people learning English.


The Bedford ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Service has now been awarded over £600,000 in total, to deliver and coordinate this much-needed service in partnership with local community groups with previous awards of £180,000 in 2019/20 and £188,000 in 2020/21.


Mayor Dave Hodgson said “This further funding award really is a mark of the incredible work that our Bedford ESOL Advice Service has done, despite the pandemic, to help reach out and encourage people to learn English who may have otherwise found it hard to access that support.


“Community groups told us they needed more resources invested into community-led English language provision, so we are pleased that the majority of this grant award, as with last year, will be used by local community groups to meet ESOL needs in our communities.”

“Language can be a huge barrier for people to access vital services. Anyone wanting to learn or improve their English can get help to do so via the Bedford ESOL Advice Service website at I am really proud of the work that our English Language Partnership does, and my thanks go to our partners in this project: ACCM UK, Kings Arms Project, Noah Academy, PBIC and 1mpact.”


Warren Edwards, Head of Training and Employment at Noah Academy said “Throughout the pandemic we were able to offer those most in need ESOL training online and, where restrictions allowed, face to face delivery in small groups. This not only improved language skills and life chances through community integration but also served to support the mental health of those not only facing physical isolation but also language isolation.


“We are really excited that MHCLG, through the extension of the EFIF project into 2022, has seen the great value that this project has provided and will continue to provide in the future, enabling communities to integrate and grow in confidence. We also hope that the research element of this project will help to provide evidence for future funding and support for those most in need.


“Bedford Borough Council have been wonderful partners and we look forward to working successfully with them again this year.”