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09 October 2015

Communities across the South West set to benefit from nearly £40.5 million as Big Lottery Fund and EU join forces

Community projects that are set up to support people into work, training and education are taking in the South West region. 

The Big Lottery Fund is matching funds from the European Social Fund (ESF) 2014-2020 to provide joint investment in 61 local projects tackling poverty, promoting social inclusion and boosting local economies.

Projects will provide learning and training opportunities for people to increase their confidence and learn new skills that will put them on the path to employment. Projects are designed to help people to overcome a huge range of challenges in their lives and communities. For example, projects will provide specialist support to people living in a rural, isolated area, people who are homeless, have mental health issues, are living with a disability or overcoming addiction issues.

The Big Lottery Fund is working with local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) and their decision-making committees across England who have identified projects that best meet local need and priorities. From today organisations will be able to apply for funding to deliver these projects, including voluntary, community and social enterprise groups, who have historically found it hard to apply for and manage EU funding.

Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of the Big Lottery Fund said:

"Working with local enterprise partnerships across the South West, these projects will enable people to overcome challenges and improve their long-term job prospects. This valuable partnership will create new opportunities for groups to focus on issues specific to their local communities.”  




The 61 projects announced today across England with a total of more than £132.6 million available, represent the second round of this funding and involve 18 LEP areas. This takes the total number of LEP areas with projects to 38. Each LEP has identified the issues challenging their communities and the opportunity that funding can bring to address them.

Projects open for applications today include:

Three projects in the Dorset LEP area to help unemployed people access the job market. This includes a project support people who are out of work and want to start a business or social enterprise. It will increase the awareness of the opportunities available, support people to launch and manage an organisation and promote self-employment.

Four projects in the Heart of the South West LEP area to support people across Devon, Plymouth, Torbay and Somerset to move towards employment. This includes a project helping people aged 25 and over move away from benefit dependency and make use of the opportunities, services and training available. It will support people to become more confident and ready for work, learning or self-employment, including improving people’s financial and digital skills.

Potential applicants with questions about the application process should view the FAQs available here. The closing date for applications is 12 noon 30 November 2015.

 A small number of further funding opportunities are expected in early 2016. To be kept informed on the latest Building Better Opportunities news go to:  

To register your interst and gian the latest information go to:

For funding and general enquiries call: BIG Advice Line: 03454 10 20 30

About Big Lottery and the Building Better Opportunities Programme:

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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, £34 billion has been raised and more than 450,000 grants awarded.  

Twitter: @biglotteryfund #BigLottery


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