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European funds

The European Structural Funds are one of the most important sources of European Union funding for economic development, employment and regeneration projects.

The main structural funds for the period 2014 to 2020 are the:

  • European Regional Development Fund

  • European Social Fund

  • Rural Development for England

European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

ERDF funding aims to strengthen economic and social cohesion in the European Union by supporting regional economic development. The East Midlands is eligible for more than £190m between 2007 and 2013, which, when combined with the required match funding, provides a programme value of approximately £380m – a significant investment in the economic development of the region.

Specific funds are available to support economic and enterprise activities in Bolsover and Chesterfield.

To help regional stakeholders find out more about ERDF, the region’s strategy for delivering the funds, how to apply for funding and how the programme is managed, a bespoke website had been created.  Please visit the site for further details. You can find the link in the related links section.

European Social Fund (ESF)

European Social Funds (ESF) are distributed through 'Co-financing Organisations' (CFOs), bringing together ESF and domestic funding for employment and skills so that ESF complements national programmes. The Skills Funding Agency, the Department for Work and Pensions Delivery Directorate and the National Offender Management Service are CFOs across the whole of England.  The County Council  is a CFO through the East Midlands Local Authority Consortium.

CFOs make ESF available through a process of open and competitive tendering. Successful providers do not have to find their own 'match funding', as CFOs are responsible for both the ESF money and match funding.

Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE)

Funded by the Defra and the European Union, Defra has approximately £60m available for projects in the east midlands during the life of the programme.

RDPE will target land-based businesses in the East Midlands including farmers, foresters, horticulturists.   Eligible  activities  include support to:

  • farm businesses wishing to restructure through the development of diversified activities that provide alternative income sources

  • projects to develop the agricultural industry including activities such as:

    • Heating and power generation fuelled by wood products or wind

    • Bio gas production

  • improving the processing and marketing of agricultural and forestry products by adding value through investment

  • development of new products in  the agriculture, forestry and food sectors to take advantage of market opportunities

  • improving and broadening  the economic value and potential of private forests

  • skills development in agricultural, horticultural, food and forestry businesses and organisations. This will be focused on business training, skills, sharing of knowledge and good practice.

Please visit the DEFRA website for further details. You can find the link in the related links section.


LEADER is a programme  within the Rural Development Programme, England which assists rural communities in improving the quality of life and economic prosperity of their local area through small scale innovative projects.

There are two LEADER Partnerships in Derbyshire: