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Thames Valley Berkshire

European Social Fund


The Thames Valley Berkshire area has a notional allocation of circa £12,500,000 European Social Funds (ESF), which will typically fund up to half of the costs of any project. Our priority for investing ESF is on increasing skills, improving pathways into and within work, and addressing social inclusion across the Berkshire area. These funds will be delivered in two main ways; Opt Ins and Open Calls.

Opt Ins

This is the mechanism to utilise match funding from other organisations in order to be able to draw down ESF. The Opt In organisations provide a level of match funding and are allocated a proportion of ESF. The Opt In organisation then allocates funding using its own processes and monitors the performance of the activity it is funding. Opt ins have been provided by:

  • the Skills Funding Agency (now operating as the Education and Skills Funding Agency)
  • Big Lottery – Building Better Opportunities

We are waiting for more information on future Opt Ins and further details will be made available when they are approved.

Open Calls

This is the more traditional method for allocating ESF, whereby providers are asked to submit proposals to deliver specific types of activity using their own funding as match. The details of Open Calls will be agreed by the Area ESIF Sub Committee and then published on the Government website: click here

However, some direct Calls will be published in the second half of 2017 and these will focus on:

  • Access to employment for job seekers and inactive people (£1.1m)
  • Social inclusion with a view to promoting equal opportunities and active participation, and improving employability (£1m)
  • Improving the skills of individuals to meet their goals and the needs of the local economy (£1.2m)
  • Improving employer participation and engagement in learning. This is primarily about improving partnerships and systems (£1.1m)

How to Apply

Click here for more information and to apply.