Current European Funding programmes run from 2014-2020. They include funding opportunities direct from Europe through a range of  targeted investment programmes, as well as new EU Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) which will be distributed through the UK Government with allocations made to Local Enterprise Partnership areas.


The ESIF aims to increase social and economic prosperity across Europe and reduce the gaps between regions; creating a more competitive, prosperous and inclusive Europe.

The ESIF comprises of:

The ESIF programmes are allocated and delivered at a Local Economic Partnership (LEP) geographic level with local area ESIF sub-committees (made up of local partners across private, public and VCSE sector organisations) developing their ESIF strategies. 

The LEP-area ESIF sub-committees also meet regularly to provide advice to the Managing Authorities on strategic fit, value for money and delivery of cross cutting themes of applications to the programmes as well as shaping the content and focus of open call opportunities.


European Social Fund

The European Social Fund (ESF) offers the most opportunities for the VCSE to access ESIF to deliver targeted services with the focus on employment, skills and social inclusion. The ESF is delivered through a number of opt-in programmes where partner organisations provide match funding to the ESF funding and then grant fund or contract provision across a number of priorities, alongside a programme of open call bidding rounds where organisations directly bid for ESF funding and have to provide their own match funding. The ESF opt-in programme are: 
  • Big Lottery Fund Building Better Opportunities programme
  • Education & Skills Funding Agency 
  • Department for Work & Pensions;  and 
  • National Offender Management Service.  
Further information on the Opt In programmes can be found on the ESF Opt-Ins page.  In addition, there is a programme of ESF Open Call bidding rounds across a number of priority areas. 
Open Calls opportunities are advertised via the VONNE news pages when available. The VONNE news pages also contain an overview of ESF funded programmes across the North East LEP.


Community Led Local Development

The North East LEP area includes the Community Led Local Development (CLLD) strand as part of the ESF Inclusion funding theme area.  This programme combines ERDF and ESF funding and is targeted at specific geographical areas facing high levels of disadvantage, and the delivery of the programme is community-led involving partners from the private, public and third sectors. There are five CLLD programmes in the NE LEP area.

Visit VONNE's NE LEP area Community Led Local Development page for more information.


Impact of Brexit 

The Joint Report issued in December 2017 by the UK and European Commission, gave an update on negotiations on the UK leaving the European Union and especially the arrangements during the proposed transition period to 2021. With transition arrangements agreed, it was announced that the UK can continue to participate in the current ESIF programme until the programme ends in 2020 (and monies spent until 2023). 

Following the end of the current ESIF programme and the end of the UK withdrawal from the EU transition period, the UK will no longer be able to access ESIF.  The Government is currently developing the UK Shared Prosperity Fund; the funding scheme which aims to replace the money local areas currently receive from the EU.


Further information and guidance


Many organisations are put off applying for EU funding by what they see as challenging monitoring, compliance and audit issues. Many fear the risk of claw back. VONNE and New Skills Consulting have developed a useful handbook on compliance. The handbook sets out what you need to know and where you need to go for further information.

Download the Compliance Handbook (PDF:562 KB)


VONNE contact

Carol Botten
Deputy Chief Executive
0191 233 2000