Charities across England can apply for £630,000 from National Lottery Community Fund to help the sector access EU funds

There is more good news from the National Lottery Community Fund this week. A development fund, worth £630,000, is available to one lead voluntary organisation per Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area to help prepare the sector for the new European Social Fund (ESF) 2014-2020 programme.

The National Lottery Community Fund announced last month at NCVO’s Evolve Conference that they expect to match-fund the ESF programme with up to £260m of Lottery money.

Applying for EU funding is well known for being complex. Any support, like this partnership development fund (PDF) to help smaller voluntary organisations get a slice of the EU cake is very welcome.

The Programme Development Fund

The PDF will be awarded to one lead organisation per LEP area which could be from the Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Sector or a LEP to:

  • raise awareness of the ESF 2014-2020 programme
  • act as the point of contact for queries
  • work with the local VCSE sector to discuss local need and how best to tackle local priorities.

Applying to the PDF

If this is something your organisation could do, go to the ESF page on the National Lottery Community Fund website and:

  1. check to see if your organisation is working in the LEP areas that have signed up to the National Lottery Community Fund Opt-In (see map or the list under ‘development funding’)
  2. check how much funding is available for your LEP area (it ranges from 10k-50k based on the amount of ESF allocated for that area – National Lottery Community Fund call this the ‘main funding’)
  3. complete the short questionnaire on the National Lottery Community Fund website.

The deadline for applications is 4 September 2014, 14:00. The new lead organisations will be appointed in October 2014.

ESF funding – (probably) available from January 2015

ESF logoThere will be more funding opportunities for voluntary organisations from the ESF 2014-2020 programme, which will probably be available from January 2015. This ESF money will be used to support projects promoting social inclusion and combatting poverty helping those furthest from the labour market to gain skills, and improve their employment and learning opportunities.

The ESF funding calls will be on our European Funding website as soon they are announced.

Get ready

The first thing you should do is read your local European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF) strategy  drafted by your Local Enterprise Partnership. The projects you have in mind will need to meet local priorities as outlined in these LEP ESIF strategies.

You should also register your interest with the National Lottery Community Fund to receive information from your local PDF once they have been appointed.

For more information about EU funding, go to NCVO’s European Funding Network website.

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Sara was the European Social Fund (ESF) officer, responsible for supporting the delivery of 'Civil Society Active for ESF'.

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