This week the Chief Executive of the Big Lottery Fund, Dawn Austwick, announced an agreement with NCVO and the Government to provide over £260 million as match funding for the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF). The ESIF is due to be approved by the European Commission soon, hopefully before the year end.
The emphasis will be on matching the ESF (European Social Fund) contribution for projects which will be tackling poverty and social exclusion, with a focus on giving disadvantaged people support to improve their skills, training and employability. The ESIF also includes ERDF – the European Regional Development Fund.
The next step is for voluntary organisations in each LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) area in England to come together over the summer and start planning to bid. £620,000 will be available to support this process.
NCVO said, “only a very small proportion of the last round of European Social Fund money was accessed by charities, with the vast bulk going to larger organisations or reaching the voluntary sector only through prime providers delivering top-down programmes. The new round of European funding represents a substantially more community-led approach.”
New readers, especially in voluntary organisations, should note the free ERDF Independent Guide book (PDF) on the downloads page above.