Guidance

England 2014 to 2020 European Structural and Investment Funds

Information about the European Structural and Investment Funds programme for 2014 to 2020 in England.

Read about the continued UK participation in EU programmes following exit of the EU and details on future funding available moving forward.

ESIF programmes will continue to invest in projects after 31 December 2020. All funding must finish by the end of 2023.

About the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth programme

The European Structural and Investment Funds programme provides funds to help local areas grow. The funds support investment in innovation, businesses, skills and employment and create jobs.

Running from 2014 to 2020, there are 3 types of funds involved in the programme:

  • European Social Fund (ESF) focuses on improving the employment opportunities, promoting social inclusion and investing in skills by providing help people need to fulfil their potential

  • European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) supports research and innovation, small to medium sized enterprises and creation of a low carbon economy

  • European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) supports rural businesses to grow and expand, improve knowledge and skills and get started – Read more information and access documents on this fund

View projects that have received funding from the ERDF and ESF.

Take a look at how the ERDF programme has been performing. Read the Annual Implementation Report 2018 (PDF, 6.39MB, 510 pages) approved by the monitoring committee on 18 June 2019 and Citizen's Summary (PDF, 768KB, 24 pages), setting out key factual information on the implementation of the programme and its priorities. 2019’s report will be completed by 31 May 2020.

Earlier reports can be found here: the Annual Implementation Report 2017 (PDF, 1.55MB, 415 pages), the Annual Implementation Report 2016 (PDF, 1.91MB, 287 pages) and the Annual Implementation Report 2015 (PDF, 523KB, 124 pages).

Take a look at how the ESF programme has been performing. Read the ESF Annual Implementation Report 2017 (PDF, 1.62MB, 79 pages).

Who can apply for funding

A variety of requirements and criteria must be met in order to apply for funding through the programme. Read the programme guidance to see who is eligible to apply for funding from the ERDF and the ESF.

Read detailed information about the funds including the priorities, objectives and target groups and how the funds are being implemented:

The ERDF Managing Authority has carried out a Strategic Environmental Assessment against the ERDF Operational Programme for England 2014 to 2020. View the 2017 determination here (PDF, 192KB, 8 pages), View the 2018 determination here (PDF, 191KB, 7 pages) and View the 2019 determination here (PDF, 181KB, 7 pages).

Applying for European Structural and Investment Growth programme funds

There are 2 routes to apply for funding.

Route 1: Funding Finder

Through this route funding opportunities for all of the ERDF, part of the EAFRD and part of the ESF are available.

Apply through the Funding Finder.

Route 2: Co-financing (European Social Fund only)

Also known as opt-in organisations, a large proportion of ESF money is available through this alternative route. Co-financing means that ESF can cover up to 100% of an approved project’s eligible costs.

Read details on this approach, the opt-in organisations and how to apply through this route on our partner page.

Find out more about the different stages of a typical European Regional Development Fund or European Social Fund project (PDF, 1.86MB, 31 pages).

Programme guidance, forms, publicity and performance information

ESIF documents

ERDF specific documents

ESF specific documents

Managing the European Structural and Investment Growth programme funds

Privacy notice

Read about how we collect, use and store your personal information.

Contact us

For all general enquiries about the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth programme or the ERDF, email esif@communities.gov.uk.

For enquiries about the ESF, email ESF.2014-2020@dwp.gov.uk.

For enquiries about the EAFRD, email rdpenetwork@defra.gsi.gov.uk.

For local information and enquiries, contact the Local Enterprise Partnership Network.

Follow us on Twitter @esif1420england and Instagram @growthengland. You can also take a look at our You Tube channel.

To sign up to receive monthly updates on the ESIF Programme through a bulletin, email esif@communities.gov.uk to register.

View the MHCLG complaints procedure.

Published 16 July 2015
Last updated 26 March 2020 + show all updates
  1. New page added to detail information regarding the European Structural and Investment Funds and the response the COVID-19.

  2. Link added to information about continued UK participation in EU programmes.

  3. Link to the ESF Outputs and Results page has bee added.

  4. Programme guidance section split into ESIF, ERDF and ESF related documents

  5. The email address for ESF Queries has changed from ESF.2014-2020@dwp.gsi.gov.uk to ESF.2014-2020@dwp.gov.uk. Any messages sent to the gsi email address after 28 March 2019 will receive an automated email response, asking you to use the new address.

  6. The 2018 determination report which looks at the Strategic Environmental Assessment has been published.

  7. Privacy notice added

  8. We have added this page to the list of Government Funding Programmes

  9. The 2015 and 2016 Annual Implementation Reports have been added

  10. New ESF and ERDF Case Study Booklets added to GOV.UK.

  11. The determination of the Strategic Environmental Assessment has been added.

  12. New sub page added on Evaluation of ERDF with associated documents.

  13. Added a link to ESF Action Notes: 2014 to 2020 Programme.

  14. New page and documents added on ERDF Financial Instruments

  15. Added a link to new information about the evaluation of the European Social Fund 2014 to 2020.

  16. Contact Us - email address amended for ESF enquiries.

  17. Added a link to the new guide to European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund 2014-2020 programmes in England.

  18. The European Social Fund Operational Programme was adopted by the European Commission on 10 September 2015 and now published.

  19. First published.