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Lottery funding to help England’s voluntary sector access European funding

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Building Better Opportunities
Release date:
23 10 2014

The Big Lottery Fund is today awarding £630,000 of Lottery funding to 36 organisations across England to raise awareness within the Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector of the opportunities available through the European Social Fund (ESF). The funded projects will provide advice and guidance on the European funding that will be matched by the Big Lottery Fund in their Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas and will be available from 2015.

Over the next few years the Big Lottery Fund plans to put up £260 million of National Lottery funding to match a similar figure from Europe, subject to sign off from the European Commission at the end of this year. Together, the matched funds will be used to tackle poverty and promote social inclusion.

The money from Europe comes from a new seven year cycle of European funding – the European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF) Growth programme, of which ESF is one part. It will support a wide range of projects including improving employability for the most disadvantaged, helping those with multiple and complex needs, improving financial literacy, and helping communities to overcome challenges in their lives.

Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of the Big Lottery Fund said: “Historically voluntary organisations have often found it difficult to access European funding. Through this development funding, we will help ensure there is widespread awareness of the opportunities available through the ESF, and will bring the Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector together to discuss local needs already identified by LEPs and how best to tackle these priorities.” 

Cheshire Community Foundation Limited (CCF) will act as main point of contact in the Cheshire and Warrington LEP area and will organise awareness-raising events, with around 100 VCSE organisations expected to attend each event. London Voluntary Service Council (LVSC) plans to host a road show across London as well as a series of workshops focussing on specific technical aspects of European funding delivery. The Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum (CVSF) will create an online contacts database with at least 2,000 organisations interested in workshops and training to ensure these groups are well informed, prepared and ready for when the main funding becomes available next year.

Below is a list of the 36 organisations who have been awarded the development grants.

LEP Area



Black Country

Black Country Consortium Limited


Cheshire and Warrington

Cheshire Community Foundation Limited


Coast to Capital

Voluntary Action Arun and Chichester (VAAC)


Cornwall and Isles of Scilly

Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum


Coventry and Warwickshire

Warwickshire Community and Voluntary Action



Cumbria Council for Voluntary Service


Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham & Nottinghamshire

One East Midlands



Dorset Community Action


Enterprise M3

Surrey Community Action



Gloucestershire Rural Community Council


Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough

Big Society Funding Community Interest Company


Greater Lincolnshire

Urban Challenge Limited


Greater Manchester

Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisations (GMCVO)


Heart of South West

South West Forum



Hertfordshire Community Foundation






ONE Lancashire Limited


Leeds City Region

Voluntary Action Leeds


Leicester and Leicestershire

LCCDA Management Co-Operative Limited (also known as CASE)


Liverpool City Region

Sefton Council for Voluntary Service



London Voluntary Service Council


New Anglia

Community Action Suffolk


North East

Voluntary Organisation Network North East (VONNE)



Voluntary Impact Northamptonshire



Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action


Sheffield City Region

Key Fund Investments Limited


South East

Basildon, Billericay and Wickford Council for Voluntary Service


South East Midlands

The Learning Partnership – Bedfordshire and Luton Limited


Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire

Staffordshire County Council


Swindon and Wiltshire

Community First


Tees Valley

Hartlepool Voluntary Development Agency Limited


Thames Valley Berkshire

Reading Voluntary Action


The Marches

Shropshire Providers Consortium


West of England

Quartet Community Foundation



Vestia Community Trust


York, North Yorkshire & East Riding

Your Consortium Ltd


Further information about who has been awarded development funding in each LEP area and how you can contact them can be found on our website at http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/esf

Big Lottery Fund Press Office: 020 7211 1888
Out of hours media contact: 07867 500572
Website: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk
Twitter: @biglotteryfund #biglf
Facebook: www.facebook.com/BigLotteryFund

Notes to editors

• The Big Lottery Fund is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by the National Lottery.
• The Fund is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK. Since its inception in 2004 it has awarded close to £6bn.
• In the year ending 31 March 2013, 28% of total National Lottery revenue was awarded to projects. Since the National Lottery began in 1994, £32 billion has been raised and more than 400,000 grants awarded.
• ESF is the European Social Fund. See http://ec.europa.eu/esf/home.jsp?langId=en
• ESIF is the European Structural & Investment Funds, which brings together 5 funds, including ESF. See http://ec.europa.eu/contracts_grants/funds_en.htm
• LEPs determine local spending priorities in accordance with national guidance from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), which was issued last year: http://www.ncvo.org.uk/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/345-ncvo-european-funds-guidance-is-good-news-for-charity-sector
• The funding is subject to approval by the European Commission and Big Lottery Fund’s formal appointment as an opt-in organisation.
• Arrangements for distribution of the UK’s European Structural and Investment Funds have been negotiated for England by BIS. Within ESIF, the European Social Fund (ESF) and European Regional and Development Fund (ERDF) are currently managed separately. ESF is managed in the UK by the Department for Work and Pensions, with ERDF managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government. NCVO, the Cabinet Office, BIS, DWP and DCLG have worked together, along with Big Lottery Fund, to significantly improve access to social inclusion funding from these programmes for voluntary organisations.