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£6million grant funding opportunities launched to support local projects that help people into work

15 June 2018

Today, the Department for Work and Pensions has launched two funding calls available to match fund community projects in the SEMLEP area: Northamptonshire, Bedford and Central Bedfordshire, Luton, Milton Keynes,  Cherwell in Oxfordshire and Aylesbury Vale in Buckinghamshire. Each funding stream is valued at £3million.

The Active Inclusion grant call is aimed at funding projects that provide tailored support to people who face multiple barriers getting into work. Successful projects will provide intensive assistance to help people with complex needs get into work, training for education. Without being prescriptive, the project proposal should seek to address actual and perceived barriers to employment that individuals may face, for example confidence, health, housing, skills, debt or substance misuse. The projects could provide a mix of direct support and connect to  existing specialist support either within their own organisation or by working with other organisations.

The Support into Employment grant call will support projects that assist people who are long-term unemployed get back into sustainable employment by helping them to improve their skills and actively look for jobs. The priorities for this investment is to support lone parents, people with disabilities or ill-health, people with low basic-skills levels, older people who are able to return to work and other disadvantaged communities. This call will prioritise those projects that focus on employee skills for the health and social care sector, construction, logistics sectors and rural communities.

The minimum value of match-fund grant that will be allocated per project is £50,000, therefore the minimum total project value should be £100,000.

Both calls for expression of interests close on 7 September 2018. 

Applications can be made directly through the EU funding portal:


Active inclusion:

Support into Employment:


To assist organisations through their application process, SEMLEP’s European Funding Manager, Jane Roemer provides one-to-one technical assistance for project-managers who seek to submit an expression of interest for the funding programme.

The EU team is hosting three workshops to provide organisations with information and guidance on the application process. The events will also provide preliminary information about future collaboration opportunities for voluntary and community sector-run projects which will be the final phase of investment from the European Social Investment Fund Growth Programme available to the South East Midlands area.

More information about SEMLEP’s EU call workshops can be found:

  • 28 June: Northampton: Understanding the European Social Fund grant application process  Book here
  • 5 July: Cranfield, Central Bedfordshire: How organisations can use the apprenticeship levy to match-fund ESF grant Book here
  • 10 July: Northampton: Understanding the European Social Fund grant application process  Book here

For more information about the ESF calls, priorities for the ESF programme or the EU-funding application process, visit or contact SEMLEP’s EU Manager directly, Jane Roemer at or call the office on 01234 436 100.


About the European Social Fund

The European Social Fund is part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. The Department for Work and Pensions (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme. Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations. For more information visit

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