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A list of technical questions and answers related to applying for funding is available below. If you have any further questions, please contact us >.

A list of common questions and answers can be accessed here >.

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Applications are invited through a series of Calls for specific activities. A Call is an open invitation for applicants to submit proposals against a published specification. The use of Calls enables the ITI Board and the Managing Authority to specify what they wish to fund and how they wish to fund it, but not who will deliver it. Inviting applications via Calls can bring forward a range of ideas and innovative solutions, as well as helping to ensure that the process for selecting grants is open, transparent and consistent.

Calls are issued on the Government website.

Application forms and guidance on their completion are available here.

Support with applications is also available from the Access to the Programme Team: accesstotheprogramme@cornwalldevelopmentcompany.co.uk or 01872 323248.

Under the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK will continue to participate in programmes funded under the current 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) until their closure.

This means that the projects funded through the ESIF Growth Programme will continue to receive EU funding across the programme’s lifetime. In many cases, funding will continue until after 2020 and the end of the transition period. In addition, UK organisations can continue to bid for new grant funding under the current MFF.

As well as continuing to take part in these programmes until they close, the arrangements project deliverers are familiar with will continue as normal throughout, whatever the terms under which the Implementation Period ends. Grant recipients should therefore continue to deliver activities and submit claims to departments in line with Grant Funding Agreements.

Applications for funding under the programmes will also be progressed as usual, either for existing bids or applications for new funding.

Further appraisal and contracting of projects from recent calls will be undertaken.

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The Growth Programme is worth over €600 million and is made up of three funding streams:

  1. European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is worth circa €450 million.
  2. European Social Fund (ESF) is worth around €166 million
  3. European Agriculture Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)

The EAFRD fund will have a smaller allocation of £9.4 million which will align with the wider Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Growth Programme.

The Education & Skills Funding Agency guidance makes it clear that this funding cannot be used.

You can find out more about this through the Education & Skills Funding Agency: common funding rules.


A redundancy is not eligible under ESF in the ESIF programme, so these costs cannot appear in the budget.

The ESIF is completely independent of the previous programme.

For individuals all applications are treated as new.

For businesses they should consider if there are any State Aid issues.

In most instances, European money has to be ‘matched’ with other funds from the public or private sector.

Sources of match funding could be from opt in organisations or the applicants’ own funds dependent upon the nature of the Call.

This rule is used to lever in maximum value from other partners, and reassures the Managing Authority that projects enjoy genuine commitment from local partners.

The match rate is determined by the nature of the project, the specification in the Call, and the State Aid scheme being used.

In Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly the minimum match funding rate for ESF and ERDF is 20%.

Normally not although separate rules exist for “Opt-in” funded projects.

Each Call specifies particular outputs and results that need to be delivered.

The outputs for both ERDF and ESF programmes are clearly defined in the respective Operational Programmes:

ERDF Operational Programme 2014-2020

ESF Operational Programme 2014-2020

There is also guidance on the output definitions.

The Government has decided that there will be no appeals process at the outline or full application stage.

Calls typically allow projects to run over a maximum three year period.

Match funding can be cash, or cash plus in kind. For ESF projects, in kind match cannot exceed 10% of the total project cost.

For definitions of in kind funding please refer to the guidance supplied through this link.

Yes, the minimum project size is specified in each Call.

Generally the minimum grant award amounts are identified in the Call documents.

As a rough guide, for ESF projects the minimum was previously £150,000 or 25% of the Call value and for ERDF it is normally £500,000.

It is up to the applicant to seek independent advice on these areas.

To apply for European funding applicants must be legally constituted bodies and not individuals or sole traders.

Applicant organisations can normally be from the public or private sector, although the exact nature of the applicants will be determined by the requirements of each individual Call.

Potential applicant organisations include, but are not limited to:

  • local authorities,
  • statutory and non-statutory public funded organisations/bodies,
  • higher and further education institutions,
  • voluntary/community organisations,
  • private sector companies,
  • registered charities,
  • not for profit organisations.

The Programme Facilitation Team provides a free guidance service on all aspects of the application process, including cross cutting themes. Each query is treated in strictest confidence.

The team is very interested to hear from partners who are developing ideas for future ESIF funded projects and programmes.

Please feel free to send your initial thoughts for projects to accesstotheprogramme@cornwalldevelopmentcompany.co.uk or call them on 01872 323248.


Yes, but please contact the team on accesstotheprogramme@cornwalldevelopmentcompany.co.uk or call 01872 323248 to check your specific circumstances.

Opt-in organisations are national public bodies who offer to deliver locally tailored activities. They will draw down ESIF monies and provide the match funding needed from their own national funding programmes.

The national opt-in organisations are as follows:

  • Big Lottery (ESF)
  • Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESF)
  • Department for Work and Pensions (ESF)

No, because Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly do not have high enough youth unemployment.

ESF, like most external funding, needs to demonstrate added value. This is sometimes referred to as additionality.

Projects should ideally be new or innovative or, at the very least, should be able to clearly show what added benefit or activity is happening as a result of ESF investment.

A previous project or activity may have identified a gap in provision and this may be filled by a follow-on project but the application would need to clearly show the additionality.

This benefit will need to reflect the aims of the ESF programme and also the aims of the ITI Board.

Each Individual Call specifies eligible activities. However at the programme level, retail Capital investment in land buildings or infrastructure of any nature for use and/or occupation by retail businesses is not eligible. The general principle is that support for retail facilities will not assist economic development and that improved performance for one facility is regarded as displacing similar activity elsewhere. Nevertheless, ERDF can be used to supplement similar activities but where it is not exclusively targeted at the retail sector.

Revenue support for the retail sector is eligible where all the following are met by a project: the business supported in an SME; and – the support is not exclusively or predominately targeted at retail businesses.

Where there is no question of displacement, for example, a specialist consultant is offering advice to a range of retail organisations on reducing their carbon emissions, this should be allowed.

Banking and insurance companies should not be supported, as their activities are non productive and support to one institution is likely to lead to displacement of jobs, except as a deliverer of services or match funding, for example as members of a VCLF consortium. This would include insurance brokers who act as intermediaries and ‘sell’ insurance policies to businesses or individuals. Guidance on the eligibility of other sectors is covered in the ERDF 2014-2020 Eligibility Guidance document.

The Programme Facilitation Team provides a free guidance service on all aspects of the application process, including cross cutting themes.

Each query is treated in strictest confidence. The team is interested to hear from partners who are developing ideas for future ESIF funded projects and programmes. Please feel free to send your initial thoughts for projects to accesstotheprogramme@cornwalldevelopmentcompany.co.uk or call them on 01872 323248.