European funding

European Union funding is available for business support, to help individuals and communities.

European Resource Procurement - European Funding


Funds are available from a range of different programmes, the most familiar being European Structural funds and in particular the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF).

A wide range of grants are available from other European Union programmes. These are detailed further in a later section.

There are also opportunities for businesses to compete for European Union (EU) contracts.  All official EU information can be found on the European Union website and the Official Journal of the European Union.

European Structural and Investment Funds 2014 -20

What are these?  These are funds that the European Union (EU) provides to support the development and competitiveness of regions.  In Barnsley we have European Regional Development Funds (ERDF), European Social Fund (ESF) and Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) money.   Together they provide business investment, support, training and skills, help to get work and social inclusion. 

These are invested in 7 year cycles.  The current version of the Sheffield City Region plan is on the Sheffield City Region LEP website – click HERE

For 2014 – 20 the funds will be focused on creating Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth.  It is hoped that the new programme will become “live” early in 2015.

Current Funding European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)ERDF Logo

ERDF is managed as a national programme by the Department for Communities and Local Government. 

Companies are still able to seek funding support from the programme, either for investment or businesses support.

European Social Fund (ESF) 

ESF logo

ESF promotes employment and training - mainly by funding initiatives to help people improve their skills and job prospects or funding workforce development.

ESF Funding is managed as part of a national programme by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).  Most of the activity is co-financed through DWP, The Skills Funding Agency and The National Offender Management Service.

South Yorkshire has funds ring-fenced from the national ESF and regional ERDF plans. The total ERDF allocation for South Yorkshire is £166 million; the total ESF allocation is £149 million.

Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE)

Locally The Rural Development Programme for England was managed the East Peak Innovation Partnership (EPIP).  At the moment this fund is closed for new projects

Where can I get help in Barnsley?

ERDF supports companies

Enterprising Barnsley is an ERDF supported project to increase company competitiveness and develop enterprise in the district.  There are also loan programmes run by Finance Yorkshire and others, which Enterprising Barnsley will be able to advise you about.

ESF supports both Individuals and Employers.

Support for unemployed adults

ESF has been added to the Work Programme to enable people on Income Support or Incapacity Benefit to get support early.  Through the local colleges, it funds skills support for unemployed people and those whose jobs are becoming redundant.

If you are an ex-offender, support is available through the South Yorkshire Probation Service but it should be noted that access to this support is through your Offender Manager.

Additional support from ESF is available to people who have left the Work Programme and would benefit from work experience and further support.  Your Jobcentre Plus Work Coach will be able to advise you further

Young people

Support is provided by Humber Learning Consortium but in the first instance, young people should contact Young peoples IKIC centre which is based in Peel Street opposite the main post office. 


ESF helps families where 1 or more members are unemployed. WiseAbility offers a tailored programme of activities to help family members get work.  Referral is mainly through the local authority or Jobcentre Plus.  To access this support one family member must be claiming an active job seeking benefit such as Job Seekers Allowance.

People working or Volunteering over 8 hours a week

News for people working or volunteering for over 8 hours a week - ESG are offering “Power Up” to improve working people’s Maths and English.  Employers may also be eligible for a support grant up to £2400.  Please see their website for more details  


Employers seeking ESF support to train their workforce should contact Chesterfield College.  Both Barnsley College and Dearne Valley College provide Apprenticeship support. Interested employers should contact the colleges for further advice

Support for Community Organisations

Humber Learning Consortium has re-opened its ESF funded Community Grants programme.  Grants of between £2000 - £13,000 are available to small not for profit organisations for the purpose of helping unemployed people to get work. 

Information on ESF was last updated on 4th June 2014

Other European Union Grants

The European Union offers a wide range of grants and loans which are usually advertised through one or more bidding rounds each year.  These types of grants generally require detailed planning.  A list of some of the most popular grant programmes is given below.  For support and advice on these and the new funding programmes for 2014 onwards, please e-mail the

  • ERASMUS + which supports education, training, youth and sport
  • EASI which supports social integration
  • Creative Europe helping our cultural, media and digital industries
  • Horizon 2020, funding research and innovation including helping companies to innovate
  • Intelligent energy which promotes renewable energy and energy saving initiatives and
  • Life+ which funds environmental protection

For businesses, the European Union has a website to help small and medium sized businesses find funding and regularly publishes calls for grant funding through its COSME programme.

Other Opportunities For Business

In addition to grants, the European Union has a variety of work programmes for which it publishes tenders.  In addition to the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEC), tender information is now published on the TED (Tenders Electronic Daily) website. 

Opportunities To Work With Other Countries

The European Union also funds work with countries across the world, including business to business activity. New funds and support are being developed for Exporters - contact the European Team or Enterprising Barnsley for more details.

European Structural funds support companies and individuals, mainly by funding larger projects.  Other European Union funds support companies and individuals directly.  Various grants are advertised throughout the year.

We publish a monthly update on new grants.

What are the rules ?

The EU's State Aid rules govern what financial help the public sector (Europe, national or local government) can give to businesses and (in some cases) voluntary and community groups.  They do this to ensure fair competition across the EU.

Match Funding:  Most grants require a contribution from the organisation getting the grant.

Procurement:  Goods and services must be procured in accordance with European Union regulations.

Is there any other help available?

We publish funding search help on this website:-  

Click HERE if you are a business

Click HERE if you are a voluntary or community organisation

Or contact us directly:

E-mail :

Telephone: 01226 773825 or 01226 773113

Write to :

Strategic Resources Team, Technical and Research, Finance & Business Support
Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council
PO Box 14
S70 9GG

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