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£31million investment available for community projects that reduce barrier to growth and help people progress in work

26 October 2017

£31million investment available for community projects that reduce barriers to growth and help people progress in work

Approximately £31million is available through the European Social Fund, part of a European investment programme available to reduce barriers to growth and develop a high-skilled workforce for the future.

This ESF investment is part of the second, and last, phase of the wider European Growth Programme, a funding programme available to the SEMLEP area. It aims to promote growth by match-funding projects that provide social value and support the needs of communities to improve their prospects and help businesses to grow.

Funding will be released in stages over the coming months. Projects are invited to apply for funding from the first three calls launched today, 25th October. Project priorities should be:

  1. Support to get young people work-ready – by helping young people into traineeships or apprenticeships, employment or self-employment including providing assistance to remove some of the barriers stopping progression. Particular focus is on supporting young people likely to be most disconnected from employment such as young, lone parents, care leavers or people who need specialist and tailored support because of a disability or mental ill-health. (Call value is approximately £1,195,471)
  2. Enhancing pathways to progression, developing equal access to life-long learning. This funding priority aims to help people in work, including people who are in low-wage, zero-hour contracts to develop skills and progress at work. Priority will also be given to projects that assist under-represented groups to develop higher-level skills, such as skills development for entrepreneurs from ethnic minority groups and women and championing support for self-employment. (Call value approximately, £3,471, 572)
  3. Developing skills for the future, by improving the relevance of training and education systems to the labour market.  Successful projects will be those that improve engagement of businesses, particularly SMEs and micro-businesses to work alongside educators to develop skills provision or specifically upskill their own workforce. Initiatives should support skills development of all sectors, but there is specific and urgent need to skills support for the health and social care sector, construction and logistics sectors. (Call value approximately £1,415,067)

Details about funding calls can be found on the SEMLEP ESIF information portal:

Further calls for the remaining part of the investment programme covering projects that support access to employment and active inclusion will be launched in January 2018.

Jane Roemer, SEMLEP’s EU Funding Manager said:We are very fortunate to have a high-growth economy, ranked as the most innovative LEP area. But, in some of our towns, we have some communities with huge disparities between people reaching their potential or not.

“SEMLEP’s role is to create the right conditions for growth in a way that and raises the living standards for everyone who lives and works here and doesn’t leave communities behind.  That’s why it’s important that we make people aware of the European Funding opportunities and assist potential projects to make successful project bids.”

Applications can be submitted for projects that focus on support local communities, those that offer support and assist across the county areas in the SEMLEP area or projects that cover the whole of the South East Midlands.

The European Social Fund money is managed by the Department for Work and Pensions with priorities for funding criteria agreed with SEMLEP in order to meet the needs of the local area. The full list of priorities are detailed in the European Structural Investment Fund Implementation Plan, published on the SEMLEP website in the ESIF information portal. Full call details can be found on website and on the SEMLEP website. 

All monies must be allocated before we leave the EU in March 2019. 

The minimum ESF grant allocated by the Department for Work and Pensions will be £50,000. All projects will require 50% match-fund, therefore the minimum project value should be £100,000.  

SEMLEP’s European funding team will be hosting an information roadshow, with events to be held in locations across the South East Midlands, starting November through to January 2018. This roadshow will provide additional information about the European Social Fund and funding opportunities, with one-to-one assistance given to projects who want to progress through the application process. 

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