European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds Programme May Bulletin

Monday 21st of May 2018 10:18 AM

Welcome to the May 2018 issue of the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds Programme Bulletin. This month, alongside the usual updates from across our Programmes, we feature an RDPE project case study and word on ERDF and ESF projects.

Feature Articles

RDPE Growth Programme Case Study - Sylvan Enterprises Ltd

Sylvan Enterprises is a Nottinghamshire based manufacturer, designer and contractor of furniture within the hospitality sector.

With the businesses turnover increasing significantly to £1,000,000 in 2014, the applicant decided to apply for an RDPE Growth Programme grant in order to invest in new machinery to increase growth and meet their increasing demand for furniture.

They were successful in obtaining a grant of £40,318 (against a total cost of £100,795). They intended to use the funding to manufacture more goods in-house and continue their work with hotel contracts as well as the growing student accommodation market.

Through purchasing new machinery, Sylvan Enterprises will be better equipped to take on more contracts. They introduced a CNC machine, which uses technology to help machine their materials, in order to make the business more competitive. They installed a briquette machine, which has environmental benefits as waste will be used to heat the factory, improving energy efficiency. The owners also wanted to install a storage unit for extracted dust from the manufacturing process and to facilitate in the production of briquettes.

Project outcomes:

Sylvan enterprises now supply their furniture to well- known hotels and venues such as IHG, Accor and Hilton.

  • They expect five new jobs to be created which will create two-three full-time equivalent jobs, which will likely benefit local people
  • There will be an improvement of energy efficiency and reducing their waste levels through recycling, which has environmental benefits
  • As well as generating profit through selling furniture, there is a possibility for Sylvan Enterprises to generate extra income through selling surplus dust bricks to other companies with wood burners
  • The business aims to increase turnover, with their aspiration at £2,000,000 based on contributing existing work as well as hoping to branch out into the student accommodation market

Latest Programme News

ERDF calls/projects update

We have legally committed £1,347 million of ERDF across 518 projects, with a further £1,059 million of applications currently under consideration (figures correct as of end of March 2018). There are currently four live ERDF calls for projects on the funding finder with closing dates ranging from 25 May to 1 June 2018.

ESF calls/projects update

The Programme is progressing: to date the current ESF commitment is £1.4 billion, 47% of the total allocation. There are 177 Direct Bid Funding Agreements totalling £407.83 million and 150 CFO Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) valued at £1.032 billion. ESF Funding Agreements for Technical Assistance are valued at £21.43 million.

There are currently two open ESF project calls for Leeds City Region LEP area, closing on 21 May and two project calls for Leicester and Leicestershire LEP area with a closing date of 21 July.

The ESF Managing Authority is arranging discussions with LEPs to identify requirements for calls and new calls will be published from mid to late May.

EAFRD calls/programme update - RDPE Growth Programme

There has been much interest in the current round of offers open under the Growth Programme which close on 31 May. The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) have received 1,025 expressions of interest for the Tourism Infrastructure, Food Processing and Business Development offers for funding worth £190.9 million. In addition, 11 Local Authorities have submitted applications to the rural broadband infrastructure offer. One contract has been issued, awarding £10.5 million to improve rural broadband provision in the Gloucestershire and Marches area.

The RPA and Local Enterprise Partnerships have now assessed 701 projects from the current round of offers as meeting local strategic priorities who have been invited to submit full applications.

In response, the RPA has received 246 applications for funding totalling £49.3 million. From these, 122 projects have secured grant funding worth £13.8 million to support food processing activity, £6.7 million in business development support and £1.5

million funding for tourism infrastructure projects. To date, 113 FTE jobs have been created by the 40 projects completing all activity. Overall, grant funding worth £7.2 million has so far been paid to support growth in the rural economy

Further details of Growth Programme activity can be found on the RPA Twitter account @Ruralpay and the National Rural Network Twitter account @RDPENetwork. The RPA can be contacted on 0300 0200 301 for more details about the scheme.

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 at

Guidance Update

The following ESF documents have been published to GOV.UK:

  • E-Claims Process for Self-Declared Adjustments
  • ESF Indicators Annex Table
  • ESF Annual Implementation Report 2016

The following Action Notes have been issued and these can be viewed on GOV.UK.

  • The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and ESF – Issued 2 May 2018
  • Applicant Guidance – Dual Forecast and Submission Form 2018 version – Issued 25 April 2018
  • E-Claims Process for Self-Declared Adjustments – Applicant Guidance – Issued 10 April 2018

If you would like to continue to receive the ESF Action Notes, please email your details to and include Action Note subscription in the subject heading.

There have been no new ERDF guidance documents published since the last ESI Fund programme bulletin in April

Guidance on EAFRD can be found at 

ERDFs 500th Project under 14-20 in England

In the April issue of this bulletin we were very happy to announce that the England ERDF 2014 to 2020 programme had reached 500 live projects. Among those recently contracted there are some great examples of strong ERDF projects.

The £40 million Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Investment Fund, which has received £32 million ERDF, will provide debt and equity finance services to new and growing SMEs. In Manchester, Citylabs 2 is a 92,000 sq ft laboratory and office development supported by a £12.5 million loan from the Evergreen 2 Urban Development Fund. And in the North East, the GX Project: Great Exhibition of the North, has secured a £637,000 ERDF investment to support local SMEs to create a lasting legacy of innovation.

Don’t forget you can view our list of beneficiaries, containing information on all ERDF and ESF contracted projects from the current programme, click here at

ESF Project Case Studies

Essex Rural Skills is funded by the European Social Fund and the Big Lottery Fund Co-Financing Organisation. The project supports people in rural areas to gain the necessary skills to move towards and into employment. You can hear about the project and the journey of some of their 120 project participants in their new YouTube video.

Their video will be added to the ESIF YouTube channel and we are keen to add other project videos to help publicise them on a national scale. Please let us know if you have recently produced an ESF related film by sending an email to the ESF Managing Authority. 

Forces for London was launched on 22 March. It is funded by the GLA ESF Co-Financing Team, Team London and RFEA - The Forces Employment Charity. Over the next three years the project will take an innovative approach to working with military veterans to support them into employment. Bespoke support will be offered to over 200 veterans to access high quality volunteering, mentoring and training opportunities. This will help them to translate their military skills and experience to those required in the civilian workspace, and, reintegrate into their communities.

You can learn more about the project at

E-CLAIMS update

For ERDF Growth Delivery, Team Contract Managers continue to work with applicants to arrange access to the system; this is a phased approach but we anticipate that the majority of ERDF applicants will be using E-CLAIMS by the end of the summer. A number of applicants are already using E-CLAIMS to upload claims. The payment process within the system has been automated, making the actual payment process faster. However, as per the article below on ERDF targets and deadlines, the ability to pay a claim in the first instance is dependent on the correct information being submitted. The majority of ESF grant recipients are using E-CLAIMS.

A quick reminder to all colleagues regarding the importance of our 2018 ERDF Programme Targets

2018 is a milestone year in the delivery of ERDF in England. Together we are focused on meeting the stretching performance targets MHCLG agreed with the EU at the start of the programme. Achieving our spend and output targets (N+3 and the Performance Framework) will preserve our full allocations and entitlement to performance-based payments in 2019, maximising the value of available funding.

To do this, we need to stretch our performance levels, investing and claiming at pace through your Managing Authority Growth Delivery Teams. Slippage in delivery and claims that projects are contracted to submit will put at risk funding and growth in your areas. It is therefore vital that we work together to deliver to the highest levels.

In order to conduct the required checks/authorisations at both managing and certifying authority level before submitting payment applications to the European Commission to meet its fixed deadlines – the majority of project claims must be submitted, checked, authorised and finally, paid by early November 2018.

We know this will be extremely challenging – and can only be achieved by ERDF grant recipients and local Managing Authority Growth Delivery Teams working closely together to maximise the amount of compliant, eligible ERDF spend defrayed and claimed in line with the Commission’s timetable. This is wholly dependent on:

  • the submission of complete and accurate claims and supporting evidence
  • timely response to requests for evidence to enable desk based checks to be conducted (including spend outputs and procurement)
  • timely response to any queries/adjustments required
  • prompt submission of required procurement evidence

ERDF claims for quarter end June 2018 will be particularly important to determine progress towards the targets.

Given the tight timescales for the submission of the final 2018 payment application, contract managers will be contacting projects to discuss the timing of claims in the important run up to the target deadlines. This may mean looking to speed up claims processes with some applicants as early as August/September 2018.

RDPE Network March Newsletter

The latest RDPE Network Newsletter was published in March – click to read at

To re-subscribe to receive future issues of the RDPE newsletter click here at

European Social Fund Project Bulletin

The May edition of the Project Bulletin has recently been circulated. It contained important information signing up to continue receiving the bulletin in the future, effective practice on displaying posters and some great examples of ESF funding in the South East and London. You can sign up to receive future Project Bulletins here:

ERDF Practitioner Network Bulletin

The latest ERDF Practitioner Network Bulletin will be circulated to subscribers early next week. Aimed at partners delivering ERDF projects, the bulletin offers more detailed/technical information relating to the programme and is currently circulated to a database of over 700 subscribers. As with other bulletins, it will contain important information about remaining on the mailing list.

Contacts and useful resources

Visit the Programme website pages at

Follow Programme developments on Twitter @esif1420england

Take a look at our YouTube channel

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