European funding

European Structural and Investment Funds logoEuropean Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) 2014 - 2020

ESIF is the EU's main funding programme supporting investment in innovation, businesses, skills and employment.

There are two types of funds:

  • European Social Fund (ESF) focuses on improving the employment opportunities, promoting social inclusion and investing in skills by providing help people need to fulfil their potential.
  • European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) supports research and innovation, small to medium sized enterprises and creation of a low carbon economy.

The following documents provide information about the funds:

ESF Operational Programme for England 2014 to 2020

ERDF Operational Programme for England 2014 to 2020

European Regional Development Fund

The fund provides 50% (in Tyne and Wear and Northumberland) revenue or capital funding to support investment in innovation, businesses, low carbon and climate change projects and create jobs.

The North East's indicative allocation of ERDF is £205m, and covers four key areas:

  • Research and Innovation (£41m - £45m)
  • SME Competitiveness (£90m - £95m)
  • Supporting a shift towards a Low Carbon economy (£49m - £60m)
  • Climate Change adaptation, in particular flood risk management (£6m - £10m)
  • Community led local development (£4.5m-£6.5m)

Within the main ERDF fund, a separate fund has been created for Sustainable Urban Development.

This fund focuses on addressing five key challenges for the region:

  • Sustainable energy systems and networks (£8m)
  • Improved travel choices (£6m)
  • Healthier, independent lives (£4m)
  • Ensuring bio-diverse and sustainable infrastructure investments (£2.6m)

Further information on this fund will be released in due course.

European Social Fund

The European Social Fund is one of the main European Funds which make up the European Structural and Investment Funds programme. ESF provides financial support for revenue projects which offer training to the unemployed and those employed in small and medium-sized enterprises.

Within Tyne and Wear and Northumberland, there are two priority axes, each of which is divided up into several Investment Priorities:

Priority Axis 1: Inclusive Labour Markets

  • 1.1: Access to Employment
  • 1.2 Sustainable Integration of Young People
  • 1.3 Youth Employment Initiative (County Durham)
  • 1.4 Active Inclusion
  • 1.5 Community led local development

Priority Axis 2: Skills for Growth

  • 2.1 Access to Lifelong Learning
  • 2.2 Improving the labour market relevance of education and training systems
  • The North East Strategic Economic Plan

The 2014-2020 European Structural Investment Funds (ESIF) will inject more than £437m in to the North East.  To ensure these funds are used to deliver both the European goals of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and support our Economic Plan, the North East LEP has worked with a wide range of partners to produce an updated European Structural and Investment Funds Strategy. Icon for pdf Download the strategy [4.92MB].

How do I apply? 

The following guidance explains who is eligible to apply for funding.   

The Government issues calls for the fund on a regular basis - around three times a year. You can check them on their website.  

Application process

Applications are a two-stage process, with an initial outline application which assesses value for money, followed by a more detailed application. The whole process from applying to receiving the agreement takes roughly 9-12 months. 

You don't have to wait for a call to prepare your application - there's a lot you can do in advance, including reading the Operational Programme and Guidance, and the NELEP area ESIF strategy 2014-2020

Gateshead Goes Local - Community Led Local Development Programme

In October 2016 permission was given to prepare a detailed proposal for partners to develop a Local Action Group to manage a delegated grants programme to match fund local initiatives that would help deliver the aspirations of the Strategy. This application was submitted in January 2017 and a decision is expected shortly. See further information on the Community Led Local Development Programme.

Support available

Gateshead Council, as part of the North East Technical Assistance Project (part funded through the 2014 to 2020 ESIF Programme), is able to provide support to help you apply for ERDF and ESF funding. Please use the contact details below to get in touch.

European funding

Contact us

Ashleigh Murphy
ESF/ERDF Coordinator
Gateshead Council
Civic Centre
Regent Street

0191 433 2604

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