European Funding Programmes 2014-2020


Press Release: 8/10/15




Communities across the North West are set to benefit from nearly £11.8 million after the Big Lottery Fund and EU have joined forces.


The Big Lottery Fund is matching funds from the European Social Fund (ESF) 2014-2020 to provide joint investment in 61 local projects tackling poverty, promoting social inclusion and boosting local economies.

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Projects will provide learning and training opportunities for people to increase their confidence and learn new skills that will put them on the path to employment. Projects are designed to help people to overcome a huge range of challenges in their lives and communities. For example, projects will provide specialist support to people living in a rural, isolated area, people who are homeless, have mental health issues, are living with a disability or overcoming addiction issues.


The Big Lottery Fund is working with local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) and their decision-making committees across England who have identified projects that best meet local need and priorities. From today organisations will be able to apply for funding to deliver these projects, including voluntary and community and social enterprise groups, who have historically found it hard to apply for and manage EU funding.


Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of the Big Lottery Fund said “Working with local enterprise partnerships across the North West, these projects will enable people to overcome challenges and improve their long-term job prospects. This valuable partnership will create new opportunities for groups to focus on issues specific to their local communities.”


The 61 projects announced today across England with a total of more than £132.6 million available, represent the second round of this funding and involve 18 LEP areas. This takes the total number of LEP areas with projects to 38. Each LEP has identified the issues challenging their communities and the opportunity that funding can bring to address them.


Projects open for applications today include:          


Three projects across Cumbria LEP area will work with people who are facing multiple and complex barriers to employment, including mental health problems and financial difficulties. The projects aim to help people who are long-term unemployed to play a greater role in their communities and gain confidence and skills that they can put into practice in employment or volunteering. They will also provide work experience and employment opportunities for those within social enterprises.


A project working in Liverpool LEP area will help ensure more people have basic online skills and confidence to access digital technologies, and help them progress to other training, employment or volunteering opportunities. The LEP recognises that the region has higher than national average levels of deprivation, unemployment and greater risk of social exclusion. The project will target people aged 18 or above in local areas where there are low levels of digital skills and computer ownership.


Another Liverpool LEP project aims to develop the financial skills of people aged 18 and above across the city. With this support people should become more employable and improve their confidence. The LEP recognises that giving people access to financial products and services suitable to their individual needs may help stimulate growth in the economy.


A Lancashire LEP project will offer support to individuals who are unemployed and at risk of being excluded from the labour market. It will help people to overcome barriers and enable them to move towards employment. This project will particularly target black, Asian and minority ethnic groups, women and those with physical or mental health problems, and help them to break down barriers and identify routes into work.


Potential applicants with questions about the stage one application process should view the FAQs available here. The closing date for applications is 12 noon 30 November 2015.


A small number of further funding opportunities are expected in early 2016. To be kept informed on the latest Building Better Opportunities news register your interest on our website at





Building Better Opportunities launched 5/6/15

Update from the BLF:

“We are pleased to let you know that Building Better Opportunities is officially live!”




Lancashire partnerships working to combat Social Exclusion

ONE Lancashire is working with The Big Lottery Fund, Selnet Ltd, The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, Lancashire County Council and Network for Europe to bring the latest news and updates on the European Funding Programmes for 2014-2020. This site is looking specifically at the European Social Fund (ESF) and in particular will bring you updates around the Big Lottery Building Better Opportunities Opt In fund.

The Big Lottery Fund has provided over £630,000 of funding to LEP areas across the county to help raise awareness of the opportunities this funding can bring to local communities. There are 3 priorities for this funding:

  • To generate widespread awareness of the Building Better Opportunities programme
  • To provide a named contact locally for news, updates and queries
  • An administrative function to collate a local database and organise events
  • Read more on their Building Better Opportunities programme here

For Latest News on the Funds and new resources available click on the tabs above


Below are some of the basic points covered. For more details on any aspect of the funding, see the Latest news and Resources tabs. 

What is European Funding?

The European Structural and Investment Funds Growth programme provides funds to help local areas stimulate growth. The funds support investment in innovation, businesses, skills and employment to improve local growth and create jobs.

For those that have not accessed it before, it’s a 7 year programme set in Brussels. Each member state gets an allocation to spend on outcomes that will cover set priorities. For the 2014-2020 programme, Brussels has set the loose outcomes of:

Smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

The fund is split into four main pots with the focus for third sector organisations being on the European Social Fund (ESF)


What is the LEP and what is their role and responsibilities in terms of the European Social Investment Strategy

The Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is a voluntary partnerships between local authorities and businesses formed in 2011 by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to help determine local economic priorities and lead economic growth and job creation within its local area. More Details can be found on their website

The LEP in Lancashire was responsible for writing the European Structural Investment strategy (ESIF) which outlines the priorities of the funds for the county. This has been done in consultation with a variety of stakeholders and is in the process of being signed off. You can download and read the Lancashire ESIF strategy in the resources section of this site.

Who will manage the Fund?

The actual funds will be managed centrally by a Govt Department. It is likely to be either Department for Local Government and Communities (DCLG) or the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

At a local level, the LEP has appointed an ESIF partnership group which is independent and will oversee potential project proposals.

How much is the Fund worth

Over the 7 year life of the fund:

  • Lancashire’s allocation is around £229 million.
  • The ESF pot is around £90 million.
  • Funds need to be cash matched 60:40 in order to be released.


Accessing the funding

Funding can be accessed in two main ways.

Call-outs – These will be for specific projects and more likely for the European Regional Development Fund rather than the ESF. Call out’s will most likely come from central government or the LEP.

Opt-Ins – These are organisations that are providing match funding and will seek proposals for the funding based on the set priorities.


Big Lottery Opt-in

  • About 12 million matched in Lancashire (£7.5 million from the LEP EU allocation cash matched by £5 million Big Lottery Fund)
  • The Lottery are asking for partnership applications to avoid a large number of small applications. Working in partnership to cover a geographical area or an outcome will be welcomed. It is anticipated that only a few applications per LEP area will be received.
  • There is development funding available for capacity building for new partnerships.
  • First stage application requests will likely be asked for in June 2015. Development funding will be allocated to those successful in this first stage to complete a second stage application. It is unlikely that funding will be released until Early 2016.
  • The fund has to follow EU regulations and be open and competitive which means it can’t be restricted to third sector organisations.
  • Organisations in receipt or in the process of applying for other Big Lottery Funding can still apply to this fund provided activity is not duplicated.
  • Check in with the website for more and updated details: