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New European funding for community groups

April 3, 2015 8:36 AM
Voluntary, community and social enterprise groups across Wiltshire are being encouraged to bid for their slice of up to £4million of European money that could be invested into the area.
European funding from the European Structural Investment Fund (ESIF), under the theme of social inclusion, is being matched by Big Lottery funding.

The Big Lottery has joined forces with Local Enterprise Partnerships across England to help make this funding available. The funding application process will be handled by the Big Lottery, and applications for the ESIF will be made directly to them.

The fund could provide grants for Wiltshire-based organisations helping people back into training, work or volunteering or those supporting socially excluded groups.

Working with the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP), the National Lottery has joined forces with the European Union to launch the new funding scheme for social inclusion and employability.

Fleur de Rhe-Philipe, Wiltshire Council cabinet member with responsibility for economic development and skills, said: "This new stream of funding offers a real opportunity for local organisations to develop programmes to help and support people get into work or training.

"This money is earmarked for tackling barriers to economic inclusion. We know that some people in our area face barriers to getting jobs, such as childcare, health conditions or disabilities. Others cannot get the type of work they aspire to. Hopefully this funding will make a real difference."

If you want to know more about bidding, or to find out about joining a bidding consortium, SWLEP and local voluntary groups are helping to organise a series of information meetings next month. The meetings will be held in Swindon, Salisbury and Devizes on the following dates:

  • Thursday 23 April , 10am-1pm, Swindon Advice and Support Centre (Sanford Street, Swindon, SN1 1QH)
  • Monday 27 April, 10am-1pm, Sarum College (19 The Close, Salisbury, SP1 2EE)
  • Tuesday 28 April, 10am-1pm, Devizes Town Hall (St John's Street, Devizes, SN10 1BN)

These information meetings will:

  • explain how Wiltshire and Swindon's new £4million EU/BIG Lottery Fund programme will work;
  • consider how our collective expertise, knowledge, skills and specialist services could help local people most disadvantaged in the workplace and furthest from the job market; and
  • look at what it might mean to be part of - or to lead - a consortium bidding and delivering initiatives.

Attendance is free, but you will need to book, as places are limited. To book please visit the website relevant to the event you wish to attend:

- Swindon

- Salisbury

- Devizes

After these meetings, additional workshops are being organised to develop the detail of any bid (or bids), and how a consortium would be developed and managed.

For more information on the funding visit www.communityfirst.org.uk/partnerships/building-better-opportunities, or email bbo@communityfirst.org.uk

During 2015, significant European Union funding will become available to boost local economic development in Wiltshire and Swindon.

The intention is for the new £4million EU/BIG Lottery funded Building Better Opportunities programme for Wiltshire and Swindon to:

  • improve people's life chances by funding one or more projects that reflect local priorities and community needs,
  • be based on evidence about what works best, and be delivered by capable providers, and
  • provide planned, personalised and progressive help to people furthest from the labour market to develop their skills and talents, and overcome challenges.

Initiatives will have to fit one or more of three broad themes:

  • Supporting people take steps towards employment, including tackling multiple and complex needs, troubled families, and in particular supporting young people and those over 54.
  • Volunteering as skills development.
  • Helping unemployed people into work and then sustain their employment.

Ahead of the main funding becoming available next year, the Big Lottery Fund has awarded development funding (from Lottery funds) to one organisation in each of the Local Enterprise Partnership areas they are working with. In Wiltshire and Swindon Community First is the Accountable Body for these funds.