European Regional Development Fund
The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) 2014-2020 aims to support smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. This support includes funding, which, over the programme period, will benefit the West of England with approximately £27 million. This value fluctuates depending on the £ to € exchange rate.
For the West of England, ERDF will provide half of the funding for successful projects; the remainder to come from eligible match funding. Combining ERDF and match, the programme of ERDF interventions in the West of England will be worth approximately £54 million.
Our strategy for utilising these funds focusses on three broad areas covering the following:
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Projects can enter the programme via a call process. ERDF operational processes and other very important information can be found on GOV.UK. Everyone considering applying for ERDF should read these documents.
Important Information regarding ERDF
ERDF is a national programme managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). All successful projects will end up with a contract directly with DCLG, not the LEP or a Local Authority. All business processes relating to ERDF (including call procedures, general eligibility, criteria to assess value for money, sustainability and equalities and diversity impact) are standard across the country.
There are a number of important rules that apply to ERDF and to all calls, more detail can be found on them from the recommended link above. In summary though, the most important things to bear in mind are:
Who can apply?
- Nearly all types of organisation are eligible to apply, be they public, private, third sector or other, but applications need to come from a legal entity. For example, partnerships that are not legal entities cannot apply as a partnership, but a member of the partnership that is a legal entity can apply on behalf of the partnership. Groups, bodies or affiliations without a distinct legal status will not be able to apply.
- Detail of who is eligible to apply can be found here.
Match funding and cash-flow.
- In order to draw on ERDF, applicants will need to evidence that they have 50% eligible match funding available/secured. In a more developed region such as the West of England we need to achieve £1 of match for each €1 we want to spend. Applicants should also be aware that ERDF is paid in arrears of expenditure, so all projects will need to be able to cash-flow themselves (be able to spend £2 on eligible costs and then claim 50% back from ERDF).
- Detail as to what is eligible to be used as match funding can be found here.
How much can I apply for?
- DCLG does not intend to allocate less than £500k of ERDF to any single applicant. Only in exceptional circumstances will applications below this level be considered.
- Bringing the minimum ERDF allocation value of £500k together with the need to have matching funding available (£1 for each €1) gives a minimum total value of any ERDF project of £1m.
- It is important to consider State Aid as early as possible when working up a project proposal, in order to ensure compliance. Guidance can be found here.
- As with state aid, it is important to consider Procurement as early as possible when working up a project proposal in order to ensure compliance. Guidance can be found here.
Working with the West of England Growth Hub
- The West of England Growth Hub will be the first point of call for all businesses looking to access the full range of publicly funded business support services. The Hub will not provide any services itself.
- As part of the Growth Hub intervention, we are undertaking mapping of all existing publicly funded business support services to identify areas of over-supply or gaps in current support. All bidders for ERDF will need to evidence demand for their intervention and all bids will be analysed against our Growth Hub mapping to ensure that projects supported add most value to the existing support network.
- All ERDF funded services would be available through the Growth Hub – businesses looking for support would be sign-posted to them if they are appropriate. We do not expect to favour business support services that operate independently and outside of the Growth Hub framework.
More detail and other important information on ERDF can be found on the webpages detailed above. All applicants and those thinking of applying are advised to visit these pages.
The ERDF programme also supports the operation of the West of England Technical Assistance Team, who can provide advice/guidance to potential applicants, and those working up full applications. The team is available to ensure that the projects being proposed are deliverable within ESIF regulations and address the LEP’s wider economic strategy.
Please get in touch to discuss your proposal(s) by emailing us at: EUSIFInbox@WestOfEngland-CA.gov.uk