ESIF Growth Programme Bulletin December 2019

Wednesday 18th of December 2019 04:03 PM

Welcome to the December issue of the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds Programme Bulletin. This month, alongside the usual Programme updates, we include links to some ESF thematic evaluations, word on a new ERDF Instagram account and a thank you to partners who have provided project case studies in recent months.


First and foremost, we wanted to say a big thank you for your part in delivering European Programmes in 2019. It’s been a very successful year for our projects and the programmes overall. This is testimony to the skill and on-going dedication among partners, managing authorities and wider stakeholders. Everyone’s efforts and support are very much appreciated.

Latest Programme News

ERDF calls/programme update

Over £2 billion of the ERDF Programme in England has now been allocated (the total value of the programme is £3.296 billion). In total 816 projects worth a combined £2.1 billion have been approved and a further 667 applications are currently under consideration (figures correct as of end of November 2019).

For more ERDF England facts and figures see the very latest issue of the ERDF Practitioner Bulletin.

Further details of ERDF and ESF Programme activity can be found on our @esif1420england twitter account.

ESF calls/programme update

This article provides a snapshot of the ESF commitment picture as at 30 November 2019, with the position at the last report (30 September 2019), shown in brackets where appropriate, for comparison purposes.

The level of ESF commitment at 30 November was £2.14 billion (£2.07 billion), 70.5% (68.1%) of the total ESF allocation:

  • In Priority Axis 1 and 2 there are (227) Direct Bid projects with commitments totalling £644 million (£588.3 million) and 157 MOUs for the National Co-Financing Organisations (CFOs) valued at £1.46 billion.
  • There are 40 ESF Funding Agreements for Technical Assistance with a value of £28.2 million.
  • There are 164 Full Applications in appraisal, which total £414 million.

As at 11 December 2019, there were 36 ESF live calls on Funding Finder on GOV.UK to the value of £104.2 million.

The forward timetable, as at the same date, contains 9 calls, to the value of £25.5 million. This comprises 4 PA1 calls (£4.8 million; 18.8%) and 5 PA2 calls (£20.7 million; 81.2%).  The Managing Authority LEP Leads are continuing to work with LEP areas to identify and submit proposals to draw on the Reserve Fund to enable us to schedule calls from January onwards.

EAFRD calls/programme update - RDPE Growth Programme​

Overall, under the RDPE Growth Programme, 625 projects have so far secured grant funding worth £108 million and £54 million has been paid to projects. To date, 954 FTE jobs have been created with a further 3,828 jobs contracted.

In addition, 22 contracts for funding totalling £79.5 million have been awarded under the Rural Broadband Infrastructure offer.

The 3rd round of the RDPE Growth Programme opened for Expressions of Interest on 4 November. This is a national-level call, offering a minimum of £35m to rural businesses. Grants from £20,000 to £180,000 are available for rural Tourism Infrastructure and rural Business Development projects, while food processing projects are able to apply for grants from £20,000 to £750,000.

For this funding round of the RDPE Growth Programme, the threshold for minimum grants has been reduced from £35,000 to £20,000 meaning that more small or micro-businesses can be eligible for grants.
Applicants need to submit an Expression of Interest to the Rural Payments Agency by Sunday 16 February 2020 outlining how they would use a grant to grow their business and deliver local priorities and national scheme objectives such as creating new jobs, increasing business turnover and improving productivity. Eligible projects will then be asked to submit a Full Application. In line with the Government’s ESIF funding guarantee, all grant awards will be contracted by end December 2020. 

The RPA are running workshops to provide guidance and information on submitting an Expression of Interest – further information is available here: EoI Worshops on what workshops are taking place around the country.
To date 110 Expressions of Interest have been received requesting £14.8 million of funding, and of these projects totalling £1.8 million have been asked to submit a Full Application.
Further information is available on GOV.UK – search ‘RDPE Growth Programme’.

To access the funding finder tool, where all calls can be searched/filtered by name, status (open/closed), type (priority area), location and funding source, click here:

Guidance Update

News of new ERDF guidance can be found in the latest ERDF Practitioner Network Bulletin – email to subscribe to this bulletin.

Recent updates to ESF Guidance that have been published to our GOV.UK pages are:

  • ESF Case Study Booklet (French) – Published 31 October 2019
  • Participant Data Schema Outputs and Results – 11 October 2019
  • ESF Case Study Booklet – Published 7 October 2019
  • ESF Data Evidence Requirements – Published 1 October 2019

In addition, the following Action Notes have been issued:

  • Action Note 042/19 Eligibility and use of internal cost transfers for ESF Projects – Published 04 December 2019
  • Action Note 041/19 Simplified Cost Options – Published 13 November 2019
  • Action Note 040/19 Pension Deficit – Published 17 October 2019

Guidance on EAFRD can be found here

ESF Thematic Evaluations: Have your say…  

The European Commission has three ongoing online public consultations that are European Social Fund (ESF) thematic evaluations. These are:

The aim of the evaluations is to gain an insight and understanding of the effectiveness and added value of ESF support provided, and of the perception by citizens and stakeholders. More details are provided in the links.

The key target groups for the consultations include organisations involved in the:

  • delivery of ESF operations as beneficiaries or project partners: public bodies or NGOs;
  • management of ESF such as managing authorities, intermediate bodies, project implementers, members of monitoring committees.

ESF partners engaged in one or more of these themes are encouraged to contribute to the consultation(s) by completing the online questionnaire(s) by the deadline.

Please can you also publicise the evaluations across your delivery partners, stakeholders and wider networks.

ERDF and ESF case study booklets

In case you haven’t seen them attached are links to our 2019 ERDF and ESF case study booklets which were published in October on GOV.UK: and

They formed the centrepiece of the ‘Annual Information Activity’ for each of the programmes and were supported by activity on our YouTube and twitter channels.

Thanks for your kind words and a huge thank you to everyone who sent us project and business case studies, many of which found their way into the booklets / supporting communications.

For a taste of what’s included, below is a case study taken from the booklets:


Springboard £7.6m EU funding, £5.4m EU & BBO - Humber

Springboard has worked with 20 delivery partners in a number of sectors in the city of Hull and across the Humber to provide support for over 3300 young people. Participants were able to receive help with barriers to work such as travel, childcare costs and mental health issues, as well as training when required. Strong working relationships with Jobcentre Plus, alongside their partners’ own recruitment activities, resulted in a high level of referrals for this programme.

New ERDF Instagram account

We recently launched our very own England ERDF Instagram account called growthengland – please take a look via the link below and follow us

LEP Network Newsletter​​

Click here to see the latest LEP Network newsletter - - to subscribe to receive future editions click here and follow them on twitter @TheLEPNetwork

Our other bulletins

ERDF Practitioner Network Bulletin

The new Practitioner Network Bulletin, which this month includes a review of programme performance in 2019, has just been circulated to subscribers. Aimed at partners delivering ERDF projects, the bulletin offers more detailed / technical information relating to the programme. Email to subscribe.

RDPE Network Newsletter

To subscribe to receive future editions of this newsletter click here:

ESF Project Bulletin

ESF Project Bulletin is aimed at partners delivering ESF projects to keep you up-to-date with the latest news and developments in the programme, and help you deliver your project in line with requirements. Have you signed up to the ESF Project Bulletin? If not, you can sign up here:

Contacts and useful resources

Visit the Programme website pages at

To provide feedback on this bulletin email