Other EU funding opportunities

Big Lottery Fund – Building Better Opportunities

Big Lottery Fund is matching funds from the Dorset European Social Fund (ESF) pot to invest in local projects promoting social inclusion and driving local jobs and growth. For more information please about Building Better Opportunities visit Big Lottery Fund.

The Dorset ESIF Committee has advised opting into Big Lottery Fund’s Building Better Opportunities programme. Dorset ESIF Committee has advised allocating £4.4 million to Big Lottery Fund who are matching it to create a funding programme of £8.8 million for delivery within Dorset between now and December 2019.

Central Government and the Big Lottery Fund have agreed the following three grant programmes:

  • Supporting Young People (aged 15-24) furthest from the labour market. A single grant of about £2.8m* covering Dorset to engage with at least 700 young people. Stated priority groups, although not exclusive, are: young carers, those with mental health / health issues and those in rural areas.
  • Supporting enterprise as an alternative route to employment and social inclusion. A single grant of about £600,000* covering Dorset, benefitting at least 150 people. Activities may include support to start and grow a business, including increasing awareness of enterprise and social enterprise opportunities and providing support needed to launch and manage an organisation, promoting self-employment as a route out of worklessness and supporting people to take the steps forward to achieve this.
  • Supporting Disadvantaged groups facing barriers to work and inclusion. A single grant of about £5.44m* covering Dorset, working with at least 1,360 participants. The detail, geographic or thematic split still to be agreed with ESIF. Locally set priorities are working with those with poor physical and mental health, people in rural areas and long term unemployed.


A European Territorial Cooperation Programme is an economic development programme that funds various projects which take place across multiple countries and regions. These projects aim to find common solutions to common problems which exist in multiple countries.

The France (Channel) England Programme is a “Cross Border” programme under the European Territorial Cooperation Goal, meaning it aims to support the development of the Border region between France and England.

Enterprise Europe Network (EEN)

EEN brings together 600 Network partner organisations, in more than 60 countries to help business and organisations. EEN is funded by the European Commission and Innovate UK and provides a fully funded advice and support programme. EEN is a platform to form links to potential European and International stakeholders, partners and/or collaborators whether that be for funding, technology, knowledge transfer or to explore commercial and/or reciprocal opportunities. 

There is support available to organisations seeking advice on the competitive funding opportunities and assistance in identifying Research and Development (R&D) grants that businesses may be eligible for, in addition to providing  critique and feedback on funding applications prior to submission. When seeking project partners for collaborative R&D funding bids, there is also assistance via EEN and this sometimes involves the UK's National Contact Points for specialist insight.

Programmes supported include Innovate UK and collaborative European opportunities such as Horizon 2020, including SME Instrument and Eurostars.  

For further information contact: eensw@businesswest.co.uk