ESIF Growth Programme Bulletin January 2020

Wednesday 29th of January 2020 02:17 PM

Welcome to the January issue of the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds Programme Bulletin. This month, alongside the usual Programme updates, we include an item on the EU Withdrawal Agreement and what it means for our programmes and a link to our recently launched ERDF and ESF Communications partner survey.

Feature articles

The EU Withdrawal Agreement and ESIF

Now that the Withdrawal Agreement Bill has been passed in Parliament, MHCLG, DWP and Defra have been able to stand down their ‘no deal’ preparations for the ERDF, ESF and EAFRD Programmes. This means that the programmes will continue as originally planned until closure, providing investment for communities and the economic priorities of places across the country.  
There are some practical implications for the programmes to be aware of. As well as continuing to take part in these programmes until they close, the arrangements you are familiar with will continue as normal throughout, whatever the terms under which the Implementation Period ends. Grant recipients should therefore continue to deliver activities and submit claims to departments in line with Grant Funding Agreements. Applications for funding under the programmes will also be progressed as usual, either for existing bids or applications for new funding.

Further appraisal and contracting of projects from recent calls will be undertaken.
Thank you to all partners who have engaged with us over the last few months in order to be prepared for all scenarios.  Your ongoing engagement in the programmes is key to their success and to the prosperity of the places you are helping to support. 

ESI Fund Communications – annual partner survey

A survey about all of our communications is currently open. We would be very grateful if you took the time to complete this survey to ensure that we provide effective and timely communications to our partners - it will help us take forward our 2020 communications activities throughout the year.
Take me to the survey:

Latest Programme News

ERDF calls/programme update​

In total 822 projects worth a combined £2.185 billion have been approved (the total value of the programme is £3.296 billion). A further 624 applications with a combined value of £1.025 billion are currently under consideration (figures correct as of 3 January 2020).

Four new SUD calls have just been launched on the Funding Finder. They are for Nottingham, North East, Leeds City Region and Greater Birmingham and Solihull and have a combined value of just over £27 million.

National calls for the reserve fund are currently being worked up and are set to be published on the Funding Finder shortly. The fund, which we updated you on in the November ERDF Practitioner Bulletin, will draw together the remaining unused ERDF LEP area allocations into a new ‘fund’, operating at national level (but not including Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly). The Reserve Fund is designed to ensure we invest the full value of the programme, maximise local growth opportunities, maintain a strong record in value for money, achieve our output and spend targets, and manage currency fluctuations successfully.

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

ESF calls/programme update​

The level of ESF commitment as of 6 January 2020 was £2.14 billion, 70.6% of the total ESF allocation.

In Priority Axis 1 and 2 there are 228 Direct Bid projects with commitments totalling £645 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 17 January 2020, there were 28 ESF live calls on the Funding Finder on GOV.UK to the value of £112 million. During 2019, local areas were asked to submit plans to launch Calls up to the end of the year. These formed the Call Timetable that closed at the end of December. The Managing Authority launched the ESF Reserve Fund in September 2019 and all future Calls are now co-ordinated via this route. Local areas are encouraged to submit Call Proposals and are supported through the process by their ESF LEP Lead. Any Call Proposals received are assessed against published criteria with decisions usually communicated within two weeks of the Call Proposal being submitted. Once a Call Proposal is approved, the ESF LEP Lead continues to support the local area to develop the Call. All publication and application appraisal processes continue under existing arrangements.

EAFRD calls/programme update - RDPE Growth Programme​

Overall, under the RDPE Growth Programme, 658 projects have so far secured grant funding worth £109 million, and £58 million has been paid to projects. To date, 1,098 FTE jobs have been created with a further 3,863 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 2019. This is a national-level call, offering a minimum of £35 million 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.

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.
The RPA are running workshops until 10 February to provide guidance and information on submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) – further information is available here: EoI Workshops on what workshops are taking place around the country.

To date, under the 3rd round of funding, 367 Expressions of Interest have been received requesting £56 million of funding, and of these 172 projects totalling £28 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.

Details of new and updated ESF Guidance and recent Action Notes published on GOV.UK can be found in the January ESF Project Bulletin. 
Guidance on EAFRD can be found here:

Changing Futures – ESF project in Lancashire

The latest ESF Project Bulletin published 29 January includes a feature on the ‘Changing Futures’ ESF project in Lancashire. Co-financed by the National Lottery Community Fund, the project supports people to engage in work or learning by overcoming problems associated with disadvantage.

Read more about the project here:

EAFRD case study - North Shire​

Location: Cleveland, North York Moors
Grant amount: £150,505.72
Total cost: £425,764.30

North Shire is a self-catering accommodation business located in the North York Moors. The theme of the accommodation is taken from films such as Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and Harry Potter and visitors can stay in a Hobbit House, Storybook Cottage, Shepherds’ Huts and Gypsy Wagons.

The purpose of the project was to enable the business to build on the success they had already achieved by building themed accommodation, including a game keeper’s cottage, a green dragon themed café, and an enchanted barn.

Project outcomes:

  • 9 new FTE jobs will be created
  • Increase in day visitors by 16,000 people
  • Overnight visitors will increase by 3,780 in 3 years

ERDF Improving Business themed month

Special bulletin coming soon - supporting local businesses to start up, grow and expand is key for local growth and the ERDF Programme. Over the last month MHCLG have been showcasing the impact ERDF is having to help and support businesses to get started, grow and thrive. We will share more details on this with you through a special bulletin edition, which will include a selection of some of our great ERDF projects.

Calling ESF projects: Festival of Learning 2020 Awards – nominations open to 11 February

Festival of Learning awards celebrate the many benefits learning can have for everyone, and recognise individuals, tutors, employers and projects across the country who have used learning to change their lives and the lives of others.

The awards focus on inspiring stories that will encourage more adults to participate in learning.

ESF projects are encouraged to find out more about the awards and consider submitting nominations by the deadline of 11 February 2020.

Young Entrepreneurs Matter Event in London

On 9 January, the Greater London Authority (GLA) European Programmes Management Unit hosted a showcasing and networking event at City Hall. It brought together ESIF projects from across the GLA to showcase the fantastic work that is happening across London to support young entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups.

There were presentations from ESIF projects ‘Boost your Business’ led by the Prince’s Trust and ‘Start-ups in London Libraries’ by the British Library supporting young entrepreneurs. There were also great success stories from two young entrepreneurs: Melissa Legarda Alcantara, an entrepreneur and digital creative from London, who, with help from the Prince’s Trust, founded Virginutty, an ethical skincare brand, and Ndubuisi Uchea, the co-founder of online broadcaster and content agency, Word on the Curb.

These were followed by a panel discussion, chaired by Simon Pitkeathley, chair of London ESIF Committee, a networking session and sharing space with information stands.

Follow us @LondonEUFunds

ERDF Practitioner Network survey​

The ERDF Practitioner Network has now been up and running for a number of years and is working well to help ERDF partners deliver projects. The annual partner survey was launched last week – if you are a member of the network it would be a great help if you were able to take a few minutes to give us your opinions on the network / bulletin.

The deadline for completion is 13 February. Thank you to those who have already completed the survey.
Take me to the survey:

LEP Network Newsletter / Twitter​

To subscribe to receive the LEP Network Newsletter click: and follow them on twitter @TheLEPNetwork and follow them on twitter @TheLEPNetwork

Our other bulletins

RDPE Network Newsletter

The latest RDPE Network Newsletter was published on 22 January – click here to see it:

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

ERDF Practitioner Network Bulletin

The 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 helps partners deliver projects in line with requirements. The January Bulletin was issued on 29 January:  

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