Lottery pay-out will help Swindon social enterprises gain access to much-needed European funding

October 24, 2014

Community First, Swindon and Wiltshire’s rural community council, has been awarded nearly £10,000 to help social enterprises and the voluntary sector access European funding.

It will work with the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and other partners to run training workshops, set up a knowledge hub and bring together European funding experts with organisations working with those furthest from the job market to ensure local employability needs are met.

The £9,628 awarded to Community First is part of a £90,000 Big Lottery Fund pay-out to six organisations across the South West 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 £260m 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.

Big Lottery Fund chief executive Dawn Austwick 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.” 

Community First works at the forefront of community development across Swindon and Wiltshire help improve the quality of life and economic wellbeing of people and communities.

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