April 22 2004. Business support organisations working in disadvantaged areas or with under-represented groups can now receive help towards development activities such as course fees and learning materials.

From 1 April 2004, £1 million will be available for Phoenix Bursaries, a new facility that will contribute up to 75 per cent of costs towards developing individual staff members' skills or the professionalism and capabilities of the organisation as a whole.

Phoenix Bursaries will provide a maximum of £10,000 for an organisation and up to £3,000 for an individual.

Applications are invited from established business support bodies that, without a Bursary, would be unable to undertake the proposed activity. Applications will be judged on merit and on a first come, first served basis. Applicants are encouraged to include a good mix of high quality activities which might include contributions to the cost of learning materials contributing to an individual's development; attachments, secondments or visits to other organisations and help towards transport costs; attendance at conferences and seminars; and care costs to make any of the above possible.

Application forms can be downloaded from www.phoenixbursaries.org.uk