A grants programme worth up to £10 million aimed at funding grass roots organisations across all areas of equality was launched by the Equality and Human Rights Commission yesterday.

The funding scheme has developed three areas for priority funding.

Applicants from organisations working to promote good relations, highlight equality and human rights and case work will be encouraged.

Examples include reducing the impact of hate crime, working with the media to promote greater awareness of equality or human rights issues and providing legal advice to victims of discrimination.

In Scotland the Commission is not currently empowered to fund activities promoting human rights but will be able to fund eligible activity to promote good relations, promote equality and carry out casework in Scotland.

Trevor Phillips, chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission said:

“Learning to live together is essential if we are to prosper in these times of rapid change.

“Managing the consequence of this change at a local level is essential.

“I am therefore delighted to be announcing a grants programme of £10 million to harness and nurture grass roots equality and human rights organisations.

“By working in partnership with local and community organisations we will ensure advice and support is delivered into every part of Britain.”

The Commission will launch a consultation regarding its permanent funding scheme in April 2008. The results will be announced next year.

The deadline for grant applications is 5pm, February 4, 2008.

Successful organisations will be announced on March 31, 2008 and will be funded for a 12 month period commencing from April 1st.

Awards can be made of up to £120,000 per application.

Application packs along with eligibility, guidance notes, good practice examples and frequently asked questions are available online here.