ESF Logo 2014-2020

This project is part-funded by the European Social Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 in England.

European Social Fund

This section of the D2N2 ESIF website is for partners and organisations that have an interest in applying for projects that are supported by the European Social Fund (ESF) elements of the wider ESIF programme.

The primary aim is to give partners and organisations information that will allow them to understand the nature, range and scope of ESF opportunities and make them better equipped to successfully contribute to the delivery of D2N2’s skills, employment and social inclusion priorities.

ESF can fund activity designed to support individuals, communities and the workforce in improving social inclusion, employability and skills.

For a list of contacts for current ESF Programmes in the D2N2 area (2015-2018), click here

Find out all about local employment and skills support by clicking here

The D2N2 Community Programme - the Active Inclusion Community Grant

The D2N2 Community Programme aims to extend the benefits of the D2N2 ESIF programme into local communities across the D2N2 area. It will provide locally owned, innovative activity in communities across D2N2 which add social value and promote excellence in equalities and environmental sustainability.

Active Inclusion’ is the first module of the D2N2 Community Programme which will be delivered through a delegated Community Grant programme. This grant programme aims to promote equal opportunities, improve employability and support active participation from communities across the D2N2 area.  The main beneficiaries of this programme will be those who are unemployed or inactive who require dedicated support to move closer to employment.

The Active Inclusion Community Grant programme will be available across the 4 geographic delivery areas of Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. Applicants can apply to administer the Active Inclusion Community Grant in one or more delivery area and schemes will run for no more than 3 years. It is envisaged that grants of between £10,000 and £50,000 will be available to support local community activity.

It is anticipated that the call for organisations to administer the Active Inclusion Community Grant will be published in the autumn of 2016 via the DWP open call process.  The total ESF funding available to support this activity is £1,500,000. ESF can support up to 50% of eligible costs. Applicants will need to have eligible match funding for the balance of costs which must be from a source other than the European Union. The intention is to award multiple contracts.  Proposals should be: for a minimum of £100,000 ESF; deliver activities eligible for ESF, and be in line with the D2N2 LEP Commissioning Principles and Delivery Criteria

Detailed information on the Active Inclusion Community Grant can be found in the Strategic Overview Document- click here to view

Prospective applicants who are interested in delivering the programme can contact Richard Kirkland, D2N2 ESIF Coordinator, at for more information.

D2N2 Strategic Overviews

Please find the list of strategic overviews for Youth Engagement, Skills Local, Employ Local, Careers Local and Inspire Local, which provide guidance on how future European Social Fund (ESF) programmes will operate, below:

Strategic Overview for Developing Sector Growth

Strategic Overview for Enterprise, Innovation and Pathways

Strategic Overview for Higher Skills Development

Strategic Overview for Youth Engagement

Strategic Overview for SKILLS Local

Strategic Overview for EMPLOY Local

Strategic Overview for CAREERS Local

Strategic Overview for INSPIRE Local

D2N2 Expressions of Interest for ESF

D2N2 have set up a form for businesses to express their interest in leading/sub contracting bids for ESF. This is open to providers delivering in Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire who would like to share details with other providers with the aim of forming new collaborations in readiness for future ESF funding opportunities through D2N2 LEP.

This is a free service and is designed to facilitate communication amongst providers. We are not guaranteeing the quality of any provider listed and this does not in any way replace normal due diligence procedures.

To have your organisation listed, fill in our short form below. We will then add you to our partnerships list and add an updated list to this page each Friday.

D2N2 ESF Expression of Interest Form

D2N2 Expression of Interest Responses

D2N2 Overview of ESF opt in programmes 

To achieve the ambitions of the D2N2 strategic economic plan we need to put in place the infrastructure and conditions that will support business and employment growth, including a fit-for-purpose skills and training system which ensures our young people are properly prepared for work, enables employers to access the skilled workers they need and supports people, including our most disadvantaged individuals, to develop their skills and employability to gain, retain and enhance employment and earnings.

Employment and skills is a cornerstone of D2N2’s Strategic Economic Plan and the LEP is committed to increasing the number of jobs within the economy and ensuring that our businesses can access the skilled workers they need, both now and in the future. Ambitious coordinated action at strategic, local and individual levels is needed to ensure that everyone, irrespective of where they live or their background, is socially included and those experiencing poverty can access support to exit

Download the full document here

Proposed use of opt in models for ESF

In its ESIF Strategy, D2N2 has agreed to ‘opt in’ to the service from the following organisations: 

  • The Skills Funding Agency
  • The Department for Work and Pensions
  • The Big Lottery Fund
To ensure that activity funded under the ‘opt ins’ responds directly to local needs and priorities outlined in the ESIF strategy, D2N2 makes in principle commitments to each opt-in on the understanding that by doing so;
  1. D2N2 will determine the specification and timing of what is procured or delivered, building on a detailed process of co-design.
  2. Secures ‘pre-match at source’ that
    1. minimises risk of under-spend; and
    2. ensures that activity procured or delivered is driven by the ESIF strategy rather than by the availability of match
  3. Expresses financial commitments that are indicative at this stage and will be finalised before the point of delivery.
  4. Does not impose added restrictions on who and what is funded or delivered using our ESIF funds beyond those that would anyway apply from the Managing Authority.
  5. Ensures that no activity will be commissioned or delivered using D2N2 ESIF funds without the explicit endorsement of the D2N2 ESIF Programme Board.

Timings of calls

D2N2 is working with all opt in organisations and the Managing Authority DWP to ensure that we are making calls for European Social Funded opportunities at the most appropriate times to support the delivery of the priorities outlined in the ESIF strategy.

Information on all calls for ESF funded opportunities will be posted in this section of the D2N2 website.

Applying for ESIF Funding from the Opt In Organisations

ESF is accessed via open and competitive processes run by Opt-in organisations that provide match funding, or the Managing Agent (DWP) for the ‘open calls’. 

Skills Funding Agency

The Skills Funding Agency will be acting as an opt-in organisation for the ESF 2014-20 Programme.  The Agency will manage the procurement, performance and payment of contracts for education and training provision on behalf of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and provide the match funding. 

  • The Agency will procure D2N2 contracts via its web based e-tendering portal service – BravoSolution.
  • For further information contact the Agency at

D2N2 is working with the Skills Funding Agency and we are confident that the first tranche of calls for their ‘opt in’ will be released by early June 2015.  It is likely that we will be wishing to see applications for the following two main programmes in the first tranche of SFA opt in calls:

These programmes are still in draft and subject to the ESF Operational Programme sign off with the European Commission.

The calls will be going out via their current process.

The Department for Work and Pensions

Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will be acting as an opt-in organisation for the ESF 2014-20 Programme. Their role will involve providing match funding for employment provision and procuring and managing contracts to deliver this provision on behalf of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).

  • DWP will procure D2N2 contracts via their web based e-tendering service. 
  • DWP will publish all opportunities over £10,000 in value on the Contracts Finder website.

Further details on the procurement timetable will be published via a Prior Information notice (PIN).

Further information on DWP’s commercial approach and links to all of the sites referenced above can be found at:

Big Lottery Fund

The Big Lottery Fund is match-funding some of the next round of European Social Fund (ESF) for projects to tackle poverty and improve social inclusion. This programme is called Building Better Opportunities. One East Midlands has been commissioned to raise awareness of opportunities for the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, and provide support to enable organisations to work together on proposals.  In the summer One East Midlands led work to identify local priorities.

The resulting Social Inclusion Framework is available at

There will be approximately £15.1million Building Better Opportunities funding available in the first three years of the programme. This investment will need to put in place activity to address the priorities identified in the D2N2 Social Inclusion Framework.

D2N2 Strategic Overview - Building Better Opportunities Tackling poverty and promoting social inclusion for the most disadvantaged

D2N2 Strategic Overview - Building Better Opportunities Tackling poverty and promoting social inclusion for the most disadvantaged

One East Midlands Building Better Opportunities support package

  • Regular briefings, including workshops to cover partnership development and technical compliance;
  • A mechanism to enable local organisations to express an interest in being lead organisations for projects;
  • A framework to enable smaller organisations to express an interest in being a local delivery partner, and demonstrate their compliance once, rather for multiple bids;
  • A ‘match making’ service for the above to form partnerships and develop project proposals collaboratively;
  • Make recommendations to D2N2 on project specifications and commissioning guidelines.

Organisations wishing to learn more about the range and scope of the Building Better Oppportunities programme in D2N2 can do so by visiting the below link. By doing so, organisations can see the types of opportunity available and will be able to register an interest in becoming more involved.

One East Midlands produces regular updates on the D2N2 LEP and the opportunities for relationships with the VCS. To sign up to receive these emails contact

D2N2 is working with the Big Lottery Fund and we are confident our Social Inclusion Programme will be amongst their first tranche of calls.  For further information contact One East Midlands