The European Social Fund (ESF) is managed and administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) with key priorities of employment and skills. Below is information relating to the ESF  Funding Allocation  for the Heart of the South West; details of  ESF funding opportunities for projects; Events for potential applicants; and details of  Funded ESF projects  in the Heart of the South West.

ESF Funding Allocation for the Heart of the South West

Fund Area*Notional Allocation
ESF Transition Area (Plymouth, Torbay and Devon)€34,548,394 ( £30,129,872)
ESF More Developed Area (Somerset)€16,308,402 ( £14,188,301)
Total€50,856,796 ( £44,381,182)

ESF Funding Opportunities

ESF funding opportunities in the Heart of the South West include:

  • Open calls run by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), as the ESF Managing Authority. For open calls, there is a two-stage application process comprising submission of an outline application followed, subject to acceptance of the initial proposal, by submission of a full application; and
  • Calls / procurements through the Big Lottery (BIG) and Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) as ESF ‘opt-in’ providers. Opt-ins are contracted by DWP, as the ESF Managing Authority, to deliver, via their own procured contractors, a programme of ESF activity in line with LEP area needs and priorities.

Legally-constituted organisations can apply for ESF monies. A partnership can apply for ESF as long as there is a named lead applicant organisation.

Need more information?

For any queries relating to ESF in the Heart of the South West, please contact

Attend an ESF info event, for more information about the programme and how to apply.   These events are scheduled to align with the launch of ESF funding opportunities. Events are free to attend, thanks to funding from the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment funds Growth Programme for England for the Heart of the South West  Technical Assistance Project, and places are allocated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.  Please e-mail  to be notified of future events.

Looking for Partners?

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

Heart of the south west LEP - The European Social Fund (ESF)