semlep esif2

SEMLEP'S ESIF Portal - All You Need To Know

The South East Midlands was allocated £117million* from the 2014-20 European Structural Investment Fund (ESIF) Growth Programme. The Growth Programme provides investment to projects that promote growth, jobs and social inclusion.

ESIF comprises three different funds:

  1. European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
  2. European Social Fund (ESF)
  3. European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)

Government departments manage and administer the funds: Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) for ERDF, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for ESF and, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) for EAFRD.

SEMLEP is responsible for developing the ESIF strategy. This identifies local priorities that help to determine where funds are invested. We also provide information about the Growth Programme calls for funding applications. 

You can read more about the key funding priorities identified by SEMLEP and partners in the SEMLEP ESIF Strategy. In April 2017, SEMLEP and Northamptonshire Local Enterprise Partnership merged. Northamptonshire's ESIF Strategy and information about future ESIF investments are included on the SEMLEP website.  

As of May 2017, around £64million of the ERDF and ESF allocation is invested in local projects that:

  • Support people back to work
  • Develop workforce skills
  • Help businesses to grow
  • Invest in innovation
  • Promote our low carbon economy

Autumn 2017 update

SEMLEP is delighted to announce the launch of the SEMLEP implementation plan for the ESIF programme. This 2017-20 ESIF implementation plan sets out the priorities for European Social Fund (ESF) and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) spending in second half of the SEMLEP ESIF programme. 

This is one of a suite of documents that support ESIF including, the ESF data refresh and ESF and ERDF project directories. All these documents are available below in the ESIF Documents and Strategies section. We anticipate that ESF calls will be launched in October with ERDF following in November. 

Download the new implementation plan directly here. 

For all enquiries please email Jane Roemer on esif@semlep.com.

*£ stirling value may change depending on exchange rate fluctuations.

Funding Programmes

European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

The total value of the SEMLEP ERDF Programme is around £56m*. The ERDF is a fund designed to: 

  • develop an economy based on knowledge and innovation
  • promote a resource efficient, greener and more competitive economy
  • foster an economy with high levels of employment, delivering social and territorial cohesion

The priorities for the ERDF are:

  1. enhancing the competitiveness of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs)
  2. supporting the development of a low carbon economy
  3. helping businesses to increase investment in research and development (R&D)
  4. supporting initiatives that positively impact on the environment

 

What can ERDF fund?

Any ERDF funded project will need to meet stringent national eligibility requirements and fit with local priorities as described in the SEMLEP ESIF Strategy and NEP ESIF Strategy. You can read more about national requirements in the European Regional Development Fund Operational Programme 2014-20.

ERDF will only fund up to 50% of total project cost. The remaining half will have to be sourced by the applicant. In most cases, this will be a cash match. In some instances, it can be in the form of land or buildings. 

Indicative activities include

Supporting SMEs, including social enterprises, through business support and coaching, access to networks, clusters and markets; research and innovation support and, grants as well as financial products.

 

How can I apply for ERDF?

Calls are placed on www.gov.uk when open and potential applicants will need to apply in two stages (outline and full application). Further details on how to apply are available in the full programme guidance.

In January 2017, SEMLEP held a series of workshops to provide information and support to potential applicants interested in ERDF funding.

For more details please see the following information:

SEMLEP_ERDF_presentation [PDF]

SEMLEP_Low carbon Economy Workshop [PDF]

SEMLEP_Supporting Biodiversity Workshop [PDF]

 

Forthcoming calls

New calls are expected to be launched from Autumn 2017 until February 2018 to ensure that applicants have signed contracts in place before the UK leaves the European Union. 

Who do I contact?

Contact Jane Roemer via email or by calling the office on 01234 436100. 

* the sterling value may change depending on exchange rate fluctuations.

European Social Fund (ESF)

The SEMLEP ESF programme allocation is worth around £54million* 

ESF is a fund aimed at people rather than businesses. It focuses particularly on people who are unemployed or economically inactive; young people aged 15-24 who are not in education, employment or training; and people who are socially excluded. 

ESF can also fund projects that support people in work by investing in basic, intermediate and higher level and technical skills to help employees progress in work and help drive growth in their organisations by improving productivity.

What can the ESF fund?

ESF activities must add value to what government is already doing to support people back into work and improve skills. It cannot support activities that would otherwise be funded by government or businesses.

Any ESF funded project will need to meet stringent national eligibility requirements and fit with local priorities as described in the SEMLEP ESIF Strategy and the NEP ESIF Strategy. You can read more about national requirements in the European Social Fund Operational Programme 2014-20.

ESF will only fund up to 50% of total project cost. The remaining half will have to be sourced by the applicant. In some cases, it is provided at source by government departments and other statutory bodies such as the Big Lottery, DWP or the Skills Funding Agency.

Indicative activities and include:

Pre-employment training in core work-related skills; preparation for apprenticeships; pre-traineeship and pre-Work Programme assistance. Outreach work to engage marginalised young people aged 15-18 in customised training and volunteering activities; encourage young people aged 15-24 to uptake an apprenticeship or traineeship.  Activities helping individuals to overcome barriers and improve their employability.

For people who are in employment:  basic skills particularly in SMEs; intermediate, technical and higher skills at level 2, 3 and above; entrepreneurial/business skills; brokerage of opportunities for learning, work placements, apprenticeships or traineeships, and graduate placements.

How can I apply for ESF?

In the first half of the ESF programme for the SEMLEP Area, there were three main funding mechanisms: open calls, opt-ins and community-led local development. For the second half of the programme only open calls and opt-ins will be available. (The latter is yet to be confirmed by the Managing Authority, the DWP)

  1. Open Calls: projects will need to find their own cash match-funding. Calls are placed on the Government website www.gov.uk when open. Potential applicants will need to apply in two stages (outline and full application). Further details on how to apply can be found in the full ESIF Programme Guidance.
  2. Opt-ins: The Department for Work and Pensions, the Skills Funding Agency and the Big Lottery provide match-funding for ESF. This means that projects do not have to find match-funding for their projects.  Approximately 70 per cent of the ESF will be distributed through opt-in organisations through a combination of contracts and grants. Each opt-in organisation will have their own procedures for procuring activities using contracts or grants. Each will have a dedicated e-portal for applications. Find out more about the Opt-ins

Forthcoming calls

New calls are expected to be launched from Autumn 2017 until February 2018, to ensure that applicants have signed contracts in place before the UK leaves the EU in March 2019.

Who do I contact for more information?

In the first instance please contact SEMLEP's ESIF Manager, Jane Roemer on email: jane.roemer@semlep.com or by calling 01234 436100. 

* the sterling value may change dependent on exchange rate fluctuations.

European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)

The SEMLEP EAFRD Programme is worth over £5m*.  EAFRD is a specific rural fund and all projects must be located or deliver outputs in a designated rural area. Please note, the Department for Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) refers to the EAFRD programme as the Growth Programme. 

What will EAFRD Fund?

Minimum grant size: £35,000

Grant type: Capital expenditure only

Intervention Rates: These vary but the norm is 40% of the project total cost. 

EAFRD Call process

There is a two stage - an expression of interest and, if approved, the applicant will need to complete a full application.

Grant Priorities

  • Business development
  • Food processing
  • Small-scale tourism infrastructure
  • Tourism cooperation
  • Supply chain cooperation
  • Renewables

For further information on SEMLEP priorities please refer to the SEMLEP ESIF Strategy, the NEP ESIF strategy and the Rural Inclusion Plan.

Who can Apply?

The eligibility of applicants varies according to the priority that the project fits. The following sets out the range of eligible applicants for the EAFRD (Growth Programme) grant:

  • All micro and small businesses in a rural area
  • New businesses or individuals who want to start a business in a rural area
  • Rural community groups
  • Any public or private bodies working in partnership with rural small or micro businesses or rural community groups
  • Organisations in charge of tourist and recreational development
  • Some EAFRD priorities are available for ‘not for profit’ organisations and a higher intervention rate may be applicable

Before an application can be submitted for an EAFRD grant, applicants need to register at www.gov.uk/claim-rural-payments

Overlapping Areas

Local Enterprise Partnership areas can overlap with another.  In SEMLEP’s case we overlap with:

  • Bucks Thames Valley LEP
  • Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership
  • Oxfordshire LEP

If a project will be in an overlap area, applicants can apply to either of the LEPs. However, applicants can only apply to one LEP area for a project, ie applicants can’t get funding for the same project twice.

Who do I contact for more information?

In the first instance please contact Jane Roemer on 01234 436100 or via email

* the sterling value may change dependent on exchange rate fluctuations.

Open Calls

ERDF - details here

Currently, there are four calls still open for European Regional Development Fund projects worth over £14m

The calls focus on:      

Promoting Research and Innovation - total call value £3.7m. For further information please visit Research and Innovation ESIF call for proposals - GOV.UK

Enhancing the Competitiveness of SMEs - total call value £4.4m. For further information please visit SME Support ESIF call for proposals - GOV.UK

Supporting the shift towards a low-carbon economy in all sectors - total call value £4.5m.  For further information please visit Low Carbon ESIF call for proposals - GOV.UK

Preserving and Protecting the Environment and Promoting Resource Efficiency - £1.6m. For further information please visit Environment and Resource Efficiency ESIF call for proposals - GOV.UK

Calls will be open until October 2017 with fixed review points where projects will be assessed in batches. 

The proposed four review points are: 17 February, 30 April, 30 July and 31 October. 

ERDF requires 50% match funding, which can be public or private funds. Minimum application size for applications will be £500,000 plus match funding.

ESF - details here

Community Grants

Funding is available for organisations to support people facing barriers to securing work or training

Futures invite voluntary and community groups in the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership region, with a turnover of less than £300,000 per annum, to apply for ESF Community. Grants of up to £20,000. Areas applicable include:

  • Aylesbury Vale District
  • Bedford Borough  
  • Central Bedfordshire
  • Cherwell District
  • Corby Borough
  • Daventry District
  • Kettering Borough
  • Luton Borough
  • Milton Keynes
  • Northampton Borough
  • South Northants


Grants of between £5,000 and £20,000 are available to support a wide range of activities including:

  • initial help with basic skills
  • taster work experience including voluntary work
  • training, advice and counselling
  • confidence building
  • job search assistance including the provision of equipment and support to secure employment
  • first contact engagement activities                       

Applications for round 4 funding opened on Monday 3rd August and close on Monday 4th September.

Grants will be awarded during the week commencing 29th September 2017.

The grants are jointly funded by the European Social Fund and the Skills Funding Agency to support projects that help engage and progress those who are long-term unemployed and most distanced from the labour market.

Projects MUST start in October 2017 and be completed by March 2018

How do I apply?

To find out more information, request an application pack reply to comm.grant.apply@futuresadvice.co.uk with the subject Round 4 Application.
Previous applicants who were unsuccessful are welcome to re-apply.

 


 

If you would like to discuss ESF project ideas or require support, please contact SEMLEP's EU funding specialist: Jane.Roemer@semlep.com or call us on 01234 436100.

EAFRD (Rural Development)- details here

The following information is in relation to the latest EAFRD live call, a new £5m fund available to businesses in the South East Midlands to help them create new jobs and grow the rural economy.

 

OPEN CALL: Tourism Infrastructure – RDPE Growth Programme is currently inviting grant funding applications for rural tourism infrastructure projects that will encourage more tourists to come, to stay longer and to spend more in rural areas. In the SEMLEP rural area, priority will be given to projects that:

  • create new visitor attractions and/or leisure activities, to increase the range and quality of the rural tourism offer;
  • include the use of local suppliers, particularly for local food and drink;
  • create economic benefits for a number of businesses, not just the applicant business;
  • increase the dwell-time of visitors;
  • extend the visitor season between the months of October to March;
  • develop infrastructure to connect rural tourism businesses (e.g. cycle way and footpaths, local tourism signage); and/or
  • create longer term sustainable jobs in the applicant business.

The deadline for submitting expressions of interest is midnight, 31 January 2018.

For more information on this call search for ‘RDPE Growth’ on WWW.GOV.UK

 

OPEN CALL: Food Processing - RDPE Growth Programme is currently inviting grant funding applications for food processing projects that will support growth in food and drink businesses that process agricultural and horticultural products.

In the SEMLEP area, priority will be given to projects that will:

  • introduce new technologies, techniques or processes, increasing the productivity of the business;
  • create new higher skilled jobs above the current average skill level of jobs in the applicant business;
  • create at least 1 full-time equivalent job for each £20,000 of grant investment;
  • construct new and high-value distribution hubs, to add value to existing supply chains and/or connect to distribution networks across other LEP areas;
  • bring locally distinctive foods to the market, that contribute to the unique food and drink offer of the SEMLEP area; and/or
  • will open new product markets to the business, potentially reducing the need for imports.

The deadline for submitting expressions of interest is midnight, 31 January 2018.

For more information on this call search for ‘RDPE Growth’ on WWW.GOV.UK

 

OPEN CALL: Business Development - RDPE Growth Programme is currently inviting grant funding applications for business development projects that will support growth in micro and small businesses (including social enterprises) in rural areas as well as farming businesses looking to diversify into non-agricultural activities. In the SEMLEP rural area, priority will be given to projects that:

  • enable farming businesses to diversify into non-agricultural activities;
  • create new services or manufacture new products;
  • create at least 1 full-time equivalent job for every £25,000 or less of grant investment;
  • create apprenticeship jobs, lasting for a minimum of one year;
  • create quality serviced tourist accommodation, where there is clear evidence of need and will achieve formal accreditation through industry bodies; and/or
  • upgrade existing tourism accommodation to increase the current accreditation rating of the accommodation

The deadline for submitting expressions of interest is midnight, 31 January 2018.

For more information on this call search for ‘RDPE Growth’ on WWW.GOV.UK

Core documents

Gov.UK government publications RDPE Growth Programme

RDPE_Growth_Programme_business_development_handbook

RDPE_Growth_Programme_food_processing_handbook

RDPE_Growth_Programme_rural_tourism_infrastructure_handbook

 

EAFRD funding is only available in rural areas. 

Within the handbooks in the ‘LEP Directory’ sections, there is a link to Defra’s 2011 Rural Maps, which tell you whether your project is in a rural area or not.

Defra is currently updating these maps and the links in the handbooks will be updated once this work is finished.

In the meantime, you can see the updated rural definition (which will be the basis of the updated maps) now at www.Magic.Gov.UK.

 

Quick Guide: using Magic maps 

To find out if you are in a rural area, visit www.Magic.Gov.UK .You will see a Map Search Box and a Table of Contents located directly below on the front page.

In the Map Search Box, type in the location of the project.

In the Table of Contents:

  1. Click on the Administrative Geographies option in the Table of Contents
  2. Then select Other Administrative Boundaries. This will open a set of drop down options
  3. Select Rural Areas Within Local Enterprise Partnerships (England)

The map will then take you to the location and you can see if the project is within a rural area

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