European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF)

ESIF logo

The 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Growth Programme for England brings together three funds:

ERDF logo

The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) with key priorities of innovation, business support, ICT and the low carbon economy.

esf

The European Social Fund (ESF) with priorities of employment, skills and social inclusion.

eafrd

Some (limited) European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) monies to support growth and jobs in rural areas, with a particular focus on grants for food processing, tourism and micro and small businesses.

Government Departments manage and administer the European Structural and Investment Funds – the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) for ERDF, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for ESF and the Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (Defra) for EAFRD.

At the local level, each Local Enterprise Partnership area has received a notional formula-based allocation from the 2014-2020 ESIF Growth Programme for England and developed a local ESIF Strategy and ESIF Sub-Committee to direct deployment of these funds.

The following sections provide further information on ESIF in the Heart of the South West, including the latest news updates.

ESIF Updates

The 17th March 2017 saw the launch of three new ERDF funding opportunities for the Heart of the South West, with deadlines for outline applications of 13th May 2017. These are:

  • Enterprise Coaching – £2 million ERDF for the transition area of Devon, Plymouth and Torbay only for activity to promote and support enterprise creation in recognised areas of deprivation and amongst under-represented groups. Further details are available here.
  • Opening New Market Opportunities – £1.45 million ERDF (£1,000,000 for the transition area of Devon, Plymouth and Torbay and £450,000 for the more developed area of Somerset) for provision of support to enable SMEs to access opportunities around key growth sectors in the Heart of the South West. Further details are available here.
  • Inward Investment – £1.35 million ERDF (£900,000 for the transition area of Devon, Plymouth and Torbay and £450,000 for the more developed area of Somerset) for activity to promote the Heart of the South West as a prime location for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and to attract more FDI businesses to the area. Further details are available here.

The Heart of the South West LEP is holding an ‘ERDF Info Event’ in Exeter on 30th March to help prospective applicants get to grips with these latest funding opportunities and what is needed for a successful ERDF application. Please click here for further information on the event and to register your place.

In addition, two ERDF calls published in January 2017 currently remain open to outline applications, namely:

  • A £2 million ERDF call for enterprise and incubation space in the ‘transition’ area of Devon, Plymouth and Torbay only. This is a ‘rolling call’, with outline applications reviewed at set points. Further details can be found here.
  • A £5 million ERDF call (£2.5 million for the ‘transition’ area of Devon, Plymouth and Torbay and £2.5 million for the ‘more developed’ area of Somerset) for activity to support the shift to a low carbon economy. This is a ‘rolling call’, with outline applications reviewed at set points. Further details can be found here.

For any queries relating to any of these calls for proposals, please contact the Department for Communities and Local Government, as the ERDF Managing Authority, at SW.ERDFenquiries@communities.gsi.gov.uk

There are currently six live ERDF and three live EAFRD funding opportunities for the Heart of the South West:

ERDF

  • A £2.8 million ERDF call for activity to further innovation in the aerospace sector in the ‘more developed’ area of Somerset only, with a deadline for outline applications of 17 February 2017. Further details can be found here.
  • A £0.5 million ERDF call for activity which builds the innovation capacity of SMES by linking students and graduate to industry in the ‘transition’ area of Devon, Plymouth and Torbay only, with a deadline for outline applications of 17 February 2017. Further details can be found here.
  • A £1.5 million ERDF call (£1 million for the ‘transition’ area of Devon, Plymouth and Torbay and £0.5 million for the ‘more developed’ area of Somerset) for activity to support SMEs to take advantage of digital technologies to drive business transformation and growth, with a deadline for outline applications of 17 February 2017. Further details can be found here.
  • A £2.95 million ERDF call (£2.25 million for the ‘transition’ area of Devon, Plymouth and Torbay and £0.7 million for the ‘more developed’ area of Somerset) for provision of investor readiness support to help SMEs access the finance they require to grow, with a deadline for outline applications of 17 February. Further details can be found here.
  • A £2 million ERDF call for enterprise and incubation space in the ‘transition’ area of Devon, Plymouth and Torbay only. This is a ‘rolling call’, with outline applications reviewed at set points. Further details can be found here.
  • A £5 million ERDF call (£2.5 million for the ‘transition’ area of Devon, Plymouth and Torbay and £2.5 million for the ‘more developed’ area of Somerset) for activity to support the shift to a low carbon economy. This is a ‘rolling call’, with outline applications reviewed at set points. Further details can be found here.

For any queries relating to any of these ERDF calls for proposals, please contact the Department for Communities and Local Government, as the ERDF Managing Authority, at SW.ERDFenquiries@communities.gsi.gov.uk

EAFRD

  • £12.4 million of European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) funding is available to support projects that increase rural jobs, growth and productivity in the Heart of the South West.Funding is split across three specific strands:
    • £2,784,740 for ‘Rural Business Development Grants’ – Farm businesses diversifying into non-agricultural activity and new or existing micro and small businesses (including social enterprises) in rural areas can apply for capital grants between £35,000 and £170,000 to support business start-up or expansion.
    • £7,540,000 for ‘Food Processing Grants’ – New or existing food and drink processing businesses (including farm businesses diversifying into food and drink processing) can apply for capital grants from £35,000 to support business start-up or expansion.
    • £2,088,555 for ‘Rural Tourism Infrastructure’ – Rural businesses, farmers, landowners, charities and public bodies can apply for capital grants from £35,000 for projects that improve the local rural tourism offer by delivering new or enhanced rural tourism assets and infrastructure.

Further details of all these EAFRD funding opportunities and how to apply are available here.

For any queries in relation to EAFRD, please contact the Rural Payments Agency at GPEnquiries@rpa.gsi.gov.uk

The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSW LEP) has recently been notified that a new round of ERDF funding opportunities will be launched shortly. We welcome this development and that our economies can continue to benefit from these monies. In support of these upcoming ERDF calls for project proposals, the HotSW LEP is holding an ‘ERDF Info Event’ on 7 December in Exeter. The event aims to help prospective applicants understand what is needed for a successful ERDF application and will feature speakers from the Department of Communities and Local Government who manage the ERDF programme.

The main event will provide potential ERDF applicants with information and networking opportunities in relation to anticipated upcoming ERDF calls for aerospace, linking students and graduates to industry, SME digital utilisation, investor readiness and low carbon activities. This will be followed by a session looking in more detail at the ERDF low carbon priority and associated funding opportunities.

The event is free to attend and places will be allocated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis, with individuals able to register for the main event only or both the main event and the low carbon session.

For further information (including timings) and to register for the event, please click here.

The Heart of the South West ERDF Info Event is part-funded by ERDF and forms part of the Heart of the South West Technical Assistance Project and the Heart of the South West LEP Conversations.

On Monday 3 October, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that the Government will guarantee funding for European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) projects contracted after the Autumn Statement but whilst the UK remains a member of the EU, subject to two conditions:

  • The project provides good value for money; and
  • The project is in line with national strategic priorities.

The European Structural and Investment Funds subject to these Government assurances are:

  • The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development;
  • The European Social Fund;
  • The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund; and
  • The European Regional Development Fund, including European Territorial Cooperation.

Each Government department will have responsibility for the allocation of money to projects in line with these conditions and the wider rules on public spending.

The full Government announcement can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/further-certainty-on-eu-funding-for-hundreds-of-british-projects.

This Government announcement builds on the assurances given by the Chancellor in August which also included:

  • all European Structural and Investment Funds projects contracted before the Autumn Statement will be fully funded, even if these projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU;
  • Government will underwrite the payment of grant awards through funding schemes administered directly by the European Commission (such as Horizon 2020), even if projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU; and
  • the current level of agricultural funding under Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) pillar 1 will be upheld until 2020 as part of the transition to new domestic arrangements.

In August, the Treasury announced that all ESIF projects with signed contracts (known as funding agreements) in place prior to the Autumn Statement on 23 November 2016 will be fully funded, even if these projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU. The Treasury will also put in place arrangements for assessing whether to guarantee funding for specific ESIF projects that might be contracted after the Autumn Statement but whilst the UK remains a member of the EU, with further details expected ahead of the Autumn Statement. The full Treasury statement can be found here.

In this context, the LEP is actively:

  • Liaising with Government Departments and, as appropriate, ESIF applicants to ensure that as many Heart of the South West ESIF proposals as possible are contracted prior to the Autumn Statement, thereby guaranteeing associated investment; and
  • Pushing the need for wider ESIF activity (including the launch of new ESIF calls for proposals, contracting of ESIF proposals and Treasury funding guarantees) to continue beyond the Autumn Statement in order to deliver local growth priorities. Government has now asked the LEP and other local ESIF partners for information on possible ESIF activity post the Autumn Statement and, whilst there is no guarantee of forward activity, this is a positive development

We will provide further information on any forward ESIF implementation arrangements here as details become available.

In the meantime, a £3 million (£1 million for the ‘More Developed’ area of Somerset and £2 million for the ‘Transition area’ of Devon, Plymouth and Torbay) ERDF call for enterprise and incubation space projects in the Heart of the South West remains open to outline applications. Further information can be found in the ERDF funding opportunities section below.

Categories of Regions

The 2014-2020 European Cohesion Policy designated regions across Europe into three types:

  • Less developed areas (where GDP <75% of the European average);
  • Transition areas (where GDP is between 75% and 90% of the European average); and
  • More developed areas (where GDP is >90% of the average).

The Heart of the SW LEP area has both transition and more developed status as follows:

  • Plymouth, Torbay and Devon are ‘transition’;
  • Somerset is ‘more developed’.

The implications of this split are as follows:

  • Our notional ESIF allocation and output targets are split by ‘transition’ and ‘more developed’. Money from the transition budget, must be spent on projects which benefit the transition area and vice versa.
  • For ERDF and ESF there is a slight difference in the intervention rate in each area (i.e. the proportion of match funding that will be needed) – a minimum of 40% match-funding is required in the ‘transition’ area and a minimum of 50% in the ‘more developed’ area.
  • Not all funding opportunities will necessarily cover both areas, with less money available for activities in the more developed area (Somerset)

Our ESIF strategy sets out the budget, targets and proposed activities within each area. The transition/more developed split does not apply to EAFRD funding, which can be spent in all rural areas of the Heart of the South West.

European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Allocation

The Heart of the South West has a total notional ESIF allocation of €137,184,144. The Sterling value of the allocation is calculated using exchange rates provided by Government on a six-monthly basis. At the current time, this is 0.78 for ERDF and ESF and 0.8 for EAFRD.

The following table shows the notional ESIF allocation for the Heart of the South West per fund and per Category of Region, including the current sterling value (based on the present Government-defined exchange rates):

Fund Notional Allcation Contracted In the business process Total Contracted & under application % of Notional Allocation Live Calls Balance to be applied for (future calls)
ERDF Transition £40,186,824 £2,769,009 £26,579,431 £29,348,440 73% £2,500,000 £8,338,384
ERDF More Developed £13,434,590 £1,412,319 £7,494,156 £8,906,475 66% £2,500,000 £2,028,115
  £53,621,414 £4,181,328 £34,073,587 £38,254,915 71% £5,000,000 £10,366,499
ESF Transition £26,947,747 £11,500,000 £1,966,977 £13,466,977 50%   £13,480,770
ESF More Developed £12,720,553 £6,000,000 £1,273,708 £7,273,708 57%   £3,446,845
  £39,668,300 £17,500,000 £3,240,685 £20,740,685 52% £0 £18,927,615
EAFRD £15,540,333 £151,516 £2,226,139 £2,377,655 15% £12,413,295 £749,383

These figures include a 6% ‘performance reserve’ which will only be released if associated 2018 ESIF expenditure and output targets are met at the national level.

Partner Database

The Heart of the South West Partner Database allows you to register your organisation’s interest in ESIF and to search for potential partners

Live calls

The 17th March 2017 saw the launch of three new ERDF funding opportunities for the Heart of the South West, with deadlines for outline applications of 13th May 2017. These are:

  • Enterprise Coaching – £2 million ERDF for the transition area of Devon, Plymouth and Torbay only for activity to promote and support enterprise creation in recognised areas of deprivation and amongst under-represented groups. Further details are available here.
  • Opening New Market Opportunities – £1.45 million ERDF (£1,000,000 for the transition area of Devon, Plymouth and Torbay and £450,000 for the more developed area of Somerset) for provision of support to enable SMEs to access opportunities around key growth sectors in the Heart of the South West. Further details are available here.
  • Inward Investment – £1.35 million ERDF (£900,000 for the transition area of Devon, Plymouth and Torbay and £450,000 for the more developed area of Somerset) for activity to promote the Heart of the South West as a prime location for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and to attract more FDI businesses to the area. Further details are available here.

The Heart of the South West LEP is holding an ‘ERDF Info Event’ in Exeter on 30th March to help prospective applicants get to grips with these latest funding opportunities and what is needed for a successful ERDF application. Please click here for further information on the event and to register your place.

In addition, two ERDF calls published in January 2017 currently remain open to outline applications, namely:

  • A £2 million ERDF call for enterprise and incubation space in the ‘transition’ area of Devon, Plymouth and Torbay only. This is a ‘rolling call’, with outline applications reviewed at set points. Further details can be found here.
  • A £5 million ERDF call (£2.5 million for the ‘transition’ area of Devon, Plymouth and Torbay and £2.5 million for the ‘more developed’ area of Somerset) for activity to support the shift to a low carbon economy. This is a ‘rolling call’, with outline applications reviewed at set points. Further details can be found here.

For any queries relating to any of these calls for proposals, please contact the Department for Communities and Local Government, as the ERDF Managing Authority, at SW.ERDFenquiries@communities.gsi.gov.uk

There are no live ESF calls for proposals or procurements for the Heart of the South West at present.

Rural businesses and organisations can apply to the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) for grants through the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) Growth Programme.

£12.4 million of European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) funding is available to support projects that increase rural jobs, growth and productivity in the Heart of the South West. Funding is split across three specific strands:

  • £2,784,740 for ‘Rural Business Development Grants’ – Farm businesses diversifying into non-agricultural activity and new or existing micro and small businesses (including social enterprises) in rural areas can apply for capital grants between £35,000 and £170,000 to support business start-up or expansion.
  • £7,540,000 for ‘Food Processing Grants’ – New or existing food and drink processing businesses (including farm businesses diversifying into food and drink processing) can apply for capital grants from £35,000 to support business start-up or expansion.
  • £2,088,555 for ‘Rural Tourism Infrastructure’ –Rural businesses, farmers, landowners, charities and public bodies can apply for capital grants from £35,000 for projects that improve the local rural tourism offer by delivering new or enhanced rural tourism assets and infrastructure.

There is a competitive and two-stage application process, comprising an expression of interest and a full application. Match-funding is also required. Further details of funding opportunities and how to apply are available here.

For projects with a funding agreement in place prior to the UK’s exit from the EU, funding will be guaranteed by Her Majesty’s Treasury even if projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU. See https://www.gov.uk/government/news/further-certainty-on-eu-funding-for-hundreds-of-british-projects

For any queries relating to these funding opportunities through the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) Growth Programme, please contact the Rural Payments Agency at GPEnquiries@rpa.gsi.gov.uk

 

Events

March 2017

Around 120 delegates attended the Heart of the South West RDPE Growth Programme Briefing in Cullompton on Friday 24th March.

The event provided information on capital grants available through the RDPE Growth Programme for business development, food processing and tourism infrastructure projects, as well as details of how to apply.

The event was funded by the RDPE Network and featured speakers from the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, the Rural Payments Agency and the Heart of the South West Growth Hub.

Key materials from the event are available below:

March 2017

Around 30 delegates attended the Heart of the South West ERDF Info Event in Exeter on Thursday 30th March 2017.

The event, featuring speakers from the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership and the Department for Communities and Local Government, provided information on ERDF funding opportunities in the Heart of the South West and details of how to apply.

The event was part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

Materials from the event are available below:

  • Presentations – Overview of ERDF, including funding opportunities launched on 17 March 2017.
  • Further information – Details of where to find further information on ERDF priorities, application processes and investments to date, as well as where to sign up for relevant newsletters and alerts.

December 2016

Around 60 delegates attended the Heart of the South West ERDF Info Event in Exeter on Wednesday 7 December.

The event, featuring speakers from the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership and the Department for Communities and Local Government, provided information on expected upcoming ERDF funding opportunities in the Heart of the South West and details of how to apply.

The event was part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

Materials from the event are available below:

  • ERDF in the Heart of the South West – An overview of ERDF priorities and activities in the Heart of the South West, including expected upcoming funding opportunities for aerospace, linking students and graduates to industry, investor readiness support, SME digital utilisation, workspace and low carbon initiatives.
  • ERDF application processes and selection criteria – An overview of how to apply for ERDF, including selection criteria and tips for applicants.
  • ERDF and Low Carbon in the Heart of the South West – An overview of ERDF low carbon priorities and activities in the Heart of the South West, including expected upcoming funding opportunities.
  • What makes a good ERDF low carbon project? – An overview of ERDF Priority Axis 4 ‘supporting the shift towards a low carbon economy in all sectors’, including priorities, targets and ‘top tips’ for applicants.
  • Further information on ERDF – Details of where to find further information on ERDF priorities, application processes and investments to date as well as where to sign up for relevant newsletters and alerts

March 2016

This month, the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership held two ‘ERDF Info Events’ to raise awareness and promote take-up of ERDF funding opportunities, particularly calls launched in April 2016. Events formed part of the Heart of the South West Technical Assistance Project and were part funded by ERDF.

Presentations from the events are available below:

European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) documents and strategies

At a national level, ESIF policy and implementation is overseen by:

  • the Growth Programme Board (GPB) for the European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund; and
  • the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) Programme Monitoring Committee for EAFRD.

At the local level, ESI Funds Sub-Committees advise on local growth conditions and priorities with regard to call specifications, funding applications and implementation. These groups operate as sub-committees of the national Growth Programme Board.

Please see the following link for the latest information on the Heart of the South West ESI Funds Sub-Committee, including membership, agendas and minutes.

The Heart of the South West 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Strategy sets out how we will use our ESIF notional allocation to promote smart, sustainable and inclusive growth across our area. It has been developed in the context of our Strategic Economic Plan to ensure that ESIF-funded activities directly contribute to our wider plans for growth.

All ESIF activity in the Heart of the South West must contribute to delivery of the ESIF Strategy priorities and targets.

Within our ESIF Strategy we have identified 5 priority areas of investment, which we have called ‘Integrated Activities’. These are:

  1. Integrated Activity A: Maximising Innovation through Transformational Opportunities and Smart Specialisation – Activities to promote innovation in our Smart Specialisation areas – Aerospace, Agri-tech, Big Data, Environmental Futures, Healthy Aging, Marine, Nuclear (not eligible for ERDF) and Photonics – with complementary higher-level skills development activity.
  2. Integrated Activity B: Enterprise and SME Competitiveness – Activities to help all businesses to grow and to encourage new start activity, including workforce skills;
  3. Integrated Activity C: Reaching New Markets – Activities to encourage businesses to explore new market opportunities, including exporting. This includes activity to stimulate the growth of our low carbon sector and supply chains.
  4. Integrated Activity D: Digital – Improving our digital infrastructure and supporting people and businesses make the most of improved technologies (including digital inclusion and digital skills).
  5. Integrated Activity E: Addressing Social and Economic Inclusion – Activities to reach and support the most deprived and hard to reach, tackling worklessnesss, in-work poverty and promoting social enterprise growth.

The full Heart of the South West ESIF Strategy is available below:

The Heart of the South West (HotSW) Technical Assistance Project aims to:

  • Raise awareness, understanding and take-up of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and European Social Fund (ESF) bidding opportunities in the Heart of the South West;
  • Promote networking, collaborative-working and exchanges of best practice in relation to ERDF and ESF funding opportunities and activities in the Heart of the South West; and
  • Showcase ERDF and ESF activities and achievements in the Heart of the South West.

The project runs from 1 February 2016 to 31 January 2019 and is receiving up to £101,495 of funding from the England European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

Activity is led by a local consortium including:

  • Devon County Council;
  • Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership;
  • Plymouth City Council;
  • Somerset County Council; and
  • Torbay Development Agency.

Further information on ESIF

National ESIF Communications

ESIF Growth Programme for England website – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/england-2014-to-2020-european-structural-and-investment-funds

ESIF Growth Programme for England news updates – Subscribe to the national ESIF Growth Programme Bulletin by e-mailing esif@communities.gsi.gov.uk and follow Programme developments on Twitter @esif1420england