£30million EU grant can help tackle county’s poverty and get more into work

thegazette@jpress.co.uk
thegazette@jpress.co.uk

Tackling poverty and removing employment barriers are on the agenda for the Herts Local Enterprise Partnership, when it comes to spending a multi-million pound share of European Social Funding.

Hertfordshire has been notionally allocated around £30 million from the European Union-granted fund to promote growth and jobs.

Up to 20% – around £6million – of the giant sum is to be spent on activities involving social inclusion, skills and employability.

This funding will be matched by the Big Lottery Fund, doubling the pot to nearly £12 million for the county.

Yesterday the Herts LEP – one of 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships tasked by the government to drive forward economic recovery – invited 90 delegates from the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector to find out more about the bidding and partnership-building process.

The programme is expected to be launched between January and June 2015, with initial bidding opportunities scheduled for June, and the first bids approved later in the year.

Attendees were also invited to have their say on the LEP’s investment priorities, which include focusing on addressing the root causes of poverty and lifting barriers to work, such as relieving debt and providing affordable childcare.

It will also focus on helping socially disadvantaged young people aged 16 to 24 and adults into the workplace.

Sarah Elliott from the Hertfordshire Community Foundation said: “This is a really big opportunity for us to make a difference and to give the voluntary sector a better chance to deliver excellent projects.”

Yesterday’s was the first of two key ESF information-sharing events organised by the LEP. The second will be held at the BioPark in Welwyn Garden City on November 25, in partnership with the Skills Funding Agency and the Department for Work and Pensions. {http://www.hertfordshirelep.com/news/esf-information-event-sfa-dwp-lep.aspx!The event is aimed at training providers – for more information, click here.}