Big Lottery Fund
Printable version

EU and Big Lottery Fund join forces to help communities address poverty and improve job opportunities

Communities across England are set to benefit from £175 million supporting people most in need to develop the skills and tools to overcome barriers to work, education and training.

The Big Lottery Fund is for the first time matching funds from the European Social Fund (ESF) 2014-2020 to provide joint investment in 71 local projects tackling the root causes of poverty, promoting social inclusion and driving local jobs and growth.

Projects will provide opportunities for people to improve numeracy, literacy and digital skills, build confidence and self-esteem, and better understand and manage their finances. Extra support will be given to hard to reach and socially-excluded groups, including people with disabilities, mental health or addiction issues, those who are homeless, ex-offenders and people living in isolated rural areas.

The Big Lottery Fund is working with Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) across England who have identified projects that best meet local need and priorities. As of recently organisations can apply for funding to deliver these projects.

Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of the Big Lottery Fund said: "We are delighted to be working with Local Enterprise Partnerships across England to bring new funds into communities to develop employment opportunities and pathways to the job market for those most in need. These projects focus on solutions developed at a local level, from customised programmes for carers seeking flexible work to support for people to create new local social enterprises."

The 71 projects announced recently with a total of £174,521,600 available across England represent the first round of this funding and involve 25 LEP areas. Further investment is expected to be delivered over the next few years, taking the total number of LEP areas with projects to 37. Each LEP has identified the issues challenging their communities and the opportunity that funding can bring to address them. The funding will be managed by the Big Lottery Fund, giving voluntary, community and social enterprise groups greater access to this wider ESF money than in previous years.

Projects open for applications recently include:

Two projects covering the London LEP area to support out of work carers and those whose caring responsibilities have recently ended move closer to the job market. The project will be flexible to work alongside people’s caring commitments, recognising that in some cases training, volunteering or work experience rather than formal employment might be more appropriate while still keeping people attached to the labour market. The project recognises that carers are an economically inactive group which receives relatively little employment support.

A project in Enterprise M3 LEP (Hampshire and Surrey) to support people furthest from the labour market to improve their skills and set up a social enterprise business, in particular young people and those not in employment, education or training. It will support people to start, grow and sustain a business, with individual tailored support and mentoring. This will help address urban and rural deprivation in the area, as well as issues surrounding an ageing workforce and increasing welfare dependency.

A project in the Greater Lincolnshire LEP area to support people with financial and debt problems and reach those not currently seeking support. This will help address financial exclusion, which affects a significant proportion of the local community, including lack of access to basic services like bank accounts, and drives people to unmanageable debt, stress and depression.

A project in Lancashire LEP to support older people and younger people in the area with low or no skills, who are therefore unable to access the job market. This will help address barriers to work in the most deprived areas, such as Blackpool, Burnley, Blackburn and Darwen, which are associated with lower skill levels.

The first competitive application stage is now open. Grant competitions are fair, open and competitive and any organisation is eligible to apply, however most of the projects will be better suited to partnership working. Full details of all the project outlines in this round are available at

In order to support potential applicants and to help grant holders to understand, plan for and deliver the additional requirements that come with managing European funding, Big Lottery Fund has also awarded £950,000 to Baker Tilly, in partnership with Ecorys UK. For further information about this support visit www.bboesfsupport.comGoes to different website.

Further funding opportunities will be available in autumn 2015. To be kept informed on the latest Building Better Opportunities news register your interest on our website

Twitter: @biglotteryfund #BigLottery
Facebook: to different website

For funding and general enquiries call:
BIG Advice Line: 0345 4 10 20 30

For press enquiries call:
Press Office:  020 7211 1888
Out of hours media contact: 07867 500572

Notes to editors

  • The total amount of funding available and projects by area is:

Local Enterprise Partnership

Funding available

Total projects




Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough















North East



North East



Tees Valley



North West



Cheshire and Warrington






New Economy - Greater Manchester



South East



Coast to Capital



Enterprise M3






Thames Valley Berkshire



South West






Swindon and Wiltshire



West of England



West Midlands



Black Country



Coventry and Warwickshire






Yorkshire and Humber









Grand Total



  • Building Better Opportunities is jointly funded with the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. The Department for Work and Pensions is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme. Established by the European Union, European Social Fund funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, skills development, job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations. For more information visit to different website.
  • The Big Lottery Fund supports the aspirations of people who want to make life better for their communities across the UK. We are responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by the National Lottery for good causes and invest over £650 million a year in projects big and small in health, education, environment and charitable purposes.
  • Since June 2004 we have awarded over £8 billion to projects that make a difference to people and communities in need, from early years intervention to commemorative travel funding for World War Two veterans.
  • Since the National Lottery began in 1994, £33 billion has been raised and more than 450,000 grants awarded.


Channel website:

Share this article

Latest News from
Big Lottery Fund

Strategically Manage Public Services