Big Lottery Fund opens doors to European funding for voluntary sector

Big Lottery Fund opens doors to European funding for voluntary sector
Big Lottery Fund

The Big Lottery Fund will be making £630,000 available in programme development funding for voluntary organisations across England to raise awareness of the funding opportunities available through the European Social Fund (ESF).


Over the next few years, the Fund expects to put up to £260 million of National Lottery funding which will leverage a similar figure from Europe, subject to sign off from the EU Commission later this year. This element of the ESF is designed to tackle poverty and promote social inclusion. It comes from a new seven year cycle of European funding – the European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF) Growth programme.


Historically voluntary organisations have often found it difficult to access European funding. The Lottery funded £630,000 programme development fund, announced yesterday, will be available to one lead voluntary organisation in each Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area. The role of the lead organisation is to ensure there is widespread awareness of the opportunities available through the ESF, to act as a main contact for queries and to bring the Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector together to discuss local need already identified by LEP’s and how best to tackle these priorities.


The amount of programme development funding allocated to each LEP area ranges from £10,000 to £50,000. The application window for the development funding is open from and the deadline for applications is 2pm, Thursday 4 September 2014.


Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive Officer of the Big Lottery Fund said: “This development funding will help to prepare potential applicants for the main ESF funding opportunity which will open in 2015. By matching and delivering the ESF, the Big Lottery Fund is giving the VCSE sector as easy access as possible to the money by using our expertise from the last ten years of supporting communities and people most in need.


“With 36 LEP areas looking to work with us, the main funding could support a wide range of projects from improving employability for the most disadvantaged, helping those with multiple and complex needs, or improving financial literacy, helping them to overcome challenges in their lives.”


Further information about who can apply and what we are looking for can be found on our website –


Big Lottery Fund Press Office: 020 7211 1888
Out of hours media contact: 07867 500572
Twitter: @biglotteryfund #biglf
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