Update 06/12/19

Current Opportunity

DPS for Skills Providers and Training Provision, Skills For Growth: Cheshire and Warrington: ESF

If your organisation has a training programme which employers do/could use to support the training and development of their staff then this tender may be of interest to you.


The University of Chester have a need to appoint suitably qualified organisations to a Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) to deliver training and education, with requirements for delivery specifically within Chester and Warrington in partnership commencing 3rd February 2020 – 30th November 2022 with the option to extend a further 10 months. The University seeks to contract for high quality provision which complements but does not compete with its own provision, meets the needs of employers, and/or benefits the local community.

Tenders (SSQs) in the first round must reach them via the e-tendering portal https://www.in-tendhost.co.uk/universityofchester by 10:00 10th January 2020 

The tender can be found here https://in-tendhost.co.uk/universityofchester/aspx/Tenders/Current

If you require any support with this please contact Caroline Whitney, caroline.whitney@cvsce.org.uk


Update on other ESF Projects

Journey First – This is a local authority led ESF project which aims to target those that are furthest away from the job market.  Within this programme there will be the opportunity for VCFS organisations to be on a Framework to deliver support services required by the clients on the programme.

CVS and its partners are providing support for this and will be able to support any VCFS organisations to apply to this framework once open.   We hope to have further news in the New Year.

There are 3 new Calls currently open please see our full update on these here

Please ensure you are either on the CVS or your local infrastructure organisations mailing list.

Cheshire East Mailing List - CVS

Cheshire West Mailing List - CWVA

Warrington Mailing List/membership - WVA

Update 10/10/19

Cheshire and Warrington ESF Stakeholders Event - 29th October 1pm 

The ESF Technical assistance team is hosting an event to raise awareness with stakeholders of the remaining ESF Allocations.

During this event stakeholders will; hear about the remaining ESF allocations, discuss unaddressed gaps and emerging priorities, and consider availability of match funding and potential project ideas.

More details on the event and Book here

For a full update on the current ESF projects please see September update on the LEP Website 


Potential ESF funding Opportunities

We are expecting there to be 2 other opportunites that may be of interest to the sector.  These projects haven't yet had formal sign off from the DWP however if they do there could be opportunities for the Cheshire and Warrington VCFS 

The first is through a project called Journey First.  This is the Local Authority led project which previous updates have mentioned.  This would be the development of a framework that organisations could be part of to deliver services to support people to get closer to the job market

The second is through a project called Skills for Growth.  This is led by Chester University.  It is aimed at providing training to businesses (which includes the sector) to upskill their staff members.  It is aimed at people currently in employment.  There are two potential opportunties;

  • the first is for the sector to access training at a subsidised rate (60% of the cost). 
  • the second is to bid to be a training provider and be funded to deliver training. 

Once we have more details on both of these projects and any support events we will communicate this out. 


Update 17/06/19

We have good news in that the TA project which CVS is a partner in has been given an extension from DWP and so we are pleased we will be able to give some indepth support to you in bidding for further ESF funding. 


The bid from the LA's still hasn't had a decision yet.  The lead Authority, Cheshire East Council has been answering additional questions and they are hopeful of an outcome decision soon.  The start date for this has been pushed back to around October 2019, subject to funding approval and so we are hopeful to be able to start building the framework then.  


The New Leaf project has been given an extension until March 2020 although the partnership will be changed slighty from August 2019 as there is a reduction in the overall funding available.  The project is also hoping to gain a further extension of this programme until June 2021, this is subject to ESF funding being approved and in place. 


Update 02/05/19

The New Leaf programme is seeking a new organisation to deliver the Mentoring service in Cheshire East.  This service will support residents who are unemployed or economically inactive with multiple barriers in order that they gain employment.


The tender is due to close 14/06/2019 for more information see the portal here


Update 04/03/19

CVS is continuing to work with partners to extend the existing ESF Tehcnical Assistance bid.  If we secure this funding it will enable support to be delivered to the VCFS in Cheshire and Warrington.  We expect the bulk of this support to be provided to the Local Authorities in the development of thier framework under ESF Calls 1.2 and 1.4.  

You can find an update from the LEP on the current ESF calls and activities here 


The LA's are still waiting to hear if they have been successful with funding.  If they are then they will be delivering a project which will support Young people and adults that are furthest away from the job market to gain employment.  Within thier bid they will be developing aframework which VCFS organisations can bid into to deliver services which would support this client group.  Along with supporting the LA to develop the framework we will be able to support any VCFS organnnisaiton which wishes to bid for this and also provide advice on how to manage the funds to ensure they are spent in line with ESF guidelines. 

The inital expectation was that this project would be up and running by April 19 however this will not be the case now and so  subject to funding approval the project won't start until later in the year. 


The New Leaf project in Cheshire East is continuing to support individuals into work and there are conversations around the continuation of this joint ESF and National Lottery Community Fund, funded project.   It is hoped that there will be continuation funding for this project.  There are conversations taking place and once any decision is confirmed we will share that. 


There is a new project which has secured ESF funding under call 2.1 which is being led by the Youth Federation across Cheshire and Warrington.  The Pledge Partnership is building on the success of the Crewe, Macclesfield and Middlewich Pledges, which has been hosted by South Cheshire Chamber of Commerce. The extended programme of work with Youthfed as the lead partner will use funding from a number of sources including the European Social Fund, youth development programmes (operated through Changing Lives), Higher Horizons and the Careers and Enterprise Company. 


The project is currently recruiting for pledge facilitators http://www.871candwep.co.uk/pledge-facilitators/

The team will work with employers, local schools and colleges and voluntary groups to enable employers to recruit the skilled people they need by putting employers at the heart of inspiring young people about new technologies and careers and progression opportunities across Cheshire and Warrington. This will enable young people to make more informed decisions about the subjects they choose to study and the skills they develop so that they are able to progress successfully into employment.


Update 04/02/19

The ESF TA project ended on 31st October however CVS has still continued to be part of conversations to represent the sector in the development of the ESF bids. 

We are still waiting to hear if the LA's bid is successful. We are hopeful that the ESF TA project will also be extended and through this funding CVS is committed to supporting the development of the framework as part of this call and VCFS organisation that wishes to bid for funding. 


During Nov / Dec through our links with the New Leaf project we provided them with some advice on thier application for additional funding and for approval to extend the current project.  It is expected that there will be a decision on this by March  2019. 

Update 01/11/18

The expression of interest has been submitted for the LA's ESF bid and we are waiting to hear if they have been asked to progress to the next round.  Once this happens we will be working with the LA's to ensure that the VCFS has opportunties for delivery within the model. 

Update 04/09/18

We met with Cheshire East Council, Chester Voluntary Action and Warrington Voluntary Action to review what kind of process we can build into the ESF bid to enable local VCFS organisations to access ESF funding and deliver services.  As a group we have shared different potential ways to commission the sector and will be working together to make sure there is a process that will be accessible to small organisations. 


The bid being developed will apply for funding under  the ESF priorities for;

  • 1.2 - projects delivering support to young people NEET or at risk of NEET; or aged up to 24 and disengaged from mainstream activity and 
  • 1.4 - projects to ensure that individuals affected by multiple disadvantages receive appropriate support that will facilitate progression to skills development and employment 


An outline application is currently being developed and if successful a full bid will be submitted.  It will be some time, if the bid is succesful, before funding is available but we will keep this section updated. 

Update 08/08/18

We attended a meeting today with representatives from the LEP and local authority who are developing a bid to access ESF funding to discuss the potential of a grant scheme.  What was agreed from the meeting was that rather than a grant scheme the model being developed would have the opportunity, through a framework, for VCFS organisations to apply to deliver specific services to meet the clients needs.  

CVS is committed to working with the local authority on the development of this and ensuring that the process developed will be accessible to small organisations.  


CVS is involved in a partnership providing technical assistance to organisations wishing to bid for ESF money.  Over the last 18 months we have been promoting the inclusion of Community grants as an option for the Local Enertprise Partnership (LEP), the body that decides the priorities for the funding. 


Over the last few days there have been a few developments, with the support of Cheshire East Council and some statistics on other community grant shcemes provided by our partner Network for Europe, the potential for this to happen has improved.  There are further meetings planned and we hope that we will be able to convince the LEP and other partners that a Community Grant scheme for Cheshire and Warrington would be a good way to utilise the ESF investment. 


A community grant scheme developed would potentially be targeted at small VCFS organisations (less than £500k turnover), deliver grants of up to £20,000 and aim to work with individuals that need support to seek employment or develop their confidence and skills to get them closer to being able to secure employment. 


We will keep this blog updated as the negotiations over the next few weeks progress. 


If you have any questions our Chief Executive Caroline is leading on this, you can contact her via email caroline.whitney@cvsce.org.uk or 07792 754904

Glossary and further information


European Social Fund


Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership


Local Authorities – in this context this covers Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester and Warrington Borough Council


The Department for Work and Pensions

Websites with further information


For Priority Axis (call) 1.2 The rationale from the LEP – Supporting young people



For Priority Axis (call) 1.4 The rationale from the LEP – Promoting social inclusion and combatting poverty



For Priority Axis (call) 2.1 – Skills



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