Below are a list of commonly asked questions and answers regarding the European Social Fund (ESF). If you need more information, please do get in touch by emailing email@example.com.
This page will be updated as new information becomes available.
How long is the programme?
Can a project be comprised of 100% ESF money?
Where can and can't match funding come from?
Which comes first, the ESF contribution or the match?
Can ESF be used to extend a project or activity?
How do I know what these aims are?
Details can also be found in the LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan (known as the SEP) here.
It advisable that both the ESIF Strategy and SEP are read prior to considering whether your project aligns with the requirements of the GCGP’s ERDF allocation in your chosen LEP area(s).
The scale of project, along with specific aims and outcomes will be detailed in the call templates when they are released. Please read these carefully and ensure your project can address them before applying.
How big does my project have to be?
As an applicant, you need to be realistic about what you can achieve, how much match funding you have (or can secure) and what level of staff resource you have to successfully deliver a project.
Please bear in mind that value for money will be a key factor in determining whether your project will secure funding. In short, the more you ask for, the more you will be expected to deliver.
Do I need to have partners?
Alternatively, and more conventionally, one member of a partnership can act as a lead partner on behalf of a partnership bid (and will be the accountable body for claims and investment, etc.). A partnership can help to share the administrative and delivery duties, especially if the project is a particularly large one.
Unlike Interreg or the Territorial Co-operation programmes, there is no requirement for partners to be drawn from other EU countries.
Who is eligible to apply?
Who makes the decisions regarding funding?
What are the principles behind ESF investment?
What are the priorities for ESF investment in the LEP areas?
Is this money capital or revenue?
What sort of activity will the programme support?
The two Priority Axes within the GCGP ESIF Strategy are:
PA 1 – Inclusive Labour Markets
PA 2 – Skills for Growth
Under Priority Axes 1 there are 4 investment priorities:
- 1 Access to Employment for Job-Seekers and Inactive People
- 2 Sustainable Integration of Young People
- 4 Active Inclusion
- 5 Community-Led Local Development
Under Priority Axes 2 there are 2 investment priorities:
- 1 Enhancing Equal Access to Lifelong Learning
- 2 Improving the Labour Market Relevance of Education and Training Systems
The call document may be more specific regarding the activity required in response to a particular call.
Outputs and result targets?
Unemployed participants into employment (including self-employment) on leaving
Participants gaining basic skills
Participants in employment, including self-employment, 6 months after leaving
Participants (below 25 years of age) in employment, including self-employment, or education/ training upon leaving
Number of supported micro, small and medium sized enterprises (including cooperative enterprises, enterprises of the social economy)
Participants gaining level 2 or below or a unit of a level 2 or below qualification (excluding basic skills)
Small and Medium Enterprises successfully completing projects (which increase employer engagement; and/or the number of people progressing into or within skills provision)
The definitions and guidance on outputs and results targets can be found here.
Is it a quick process?
If you make a successful application you will go on to sign a funding agreement for the project.
It is important to bear this timetable in mind when developing your application, securing match funding (especially if it is time limited) and planning the project delivery.
Once approved, do we then receive the money?
This means that money must be spent and claimed back from the ESF programme, on a quarterly basis or potentially a monthly basis but ensure you can cash flow your project on a quarterly in arrears basis. As with the timescale for approval, it is important to bear this in mind when planning your project.
From whom do I claim the money back?
Can I claim back any money that I have spent prior to the project being approved that will inform the project?
What checks are carried out during the project that I need to be aware of?
Who can explain the complexity in layman’s terms?
What calls have been issued to date?
ESF Facilitator Details:
Joanne Goodall, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07950 191146