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European funding news update - 5 august 2015

Wed 5 Aug 2015

Recent applications
The Stoke and Staffordshire LEP ESIF (European Structural and Investment Funds) Committee met on 28th July to go through all the recent first stage applications for European funding that had been received by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) as a result of invitations to apply or “calls” in the jargon. The committee considered 38 different applications mainly under European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) with a few under European Social Fund (ESF) under themes including research and development and innovation; business competitiveness; and low carbon. Primarily the bids related to initiatives aimed at business and industry although some projects, such as Enterprise Coaches from Business Enterprise Support, would potentially provide support to social enterprises and community businesses.

The ESIF Committee does not make the decision on these applications – that is the role of DCLG – but it does look at the application’s fit to the strategy of the Stoke and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SSLEP) and offers its collective view, categorising these first stage applications into strong, medium or weak which will influence the decision of DCLG on whether applicants can proceed with submitting a full application.

Support for the VCSE on European Funding
One of the bids considered at the ESIF Committee was on Technical Assistance. This includes an element for Support Staffordshire to provide one-to-one support to VCSE organisations. This bid was recommended to proceed to full application.

European Social Fund (ESF)
At national level the ESF Operational Programme has not been approved with the European Union yet. This means there will be a delay from July until September in calls going out for ESF bids. This will be of particular relevance to organisations which were planning to apply directly for ESF funding.

Next ESIF Committee
The next meeting of the Stoke and Staffordshire LEP ESIF (European Structural and Investment Funds) Committee is 25th August 2015 so if you have any issues you want raising, or any questions about its activity, please contact your VCSE sector rep, Jill Norman at our Leek office on 01538 381356 or email her on jillnorman@smcvs.co.uk

ESF Building Better Opportunities programme
Whilst Building Better Opportunities is the EU fund most targeted at the VCSE (with its match funding from the Big Lottery), VCSE organisations can respond direct to EU funding calls if they deliver relevant services. More information can be found on www.gov.uk/european-structural-investment-funds  and also on the LEP’s website www.stokestaffslep.org.uk

For further information contact Jill Norman on 01538 381356 or at JillNorman@smcvs.co.uk