Development and Funding

Voluntary and Community Action Sunderland supports local voluntary and community organisations and not-for-profit groups in and around the city of Sunderland to identify and apply for funding from a range of different sources.

We will help you to identify the most appropriate funding source for the work you want to do. We will then help you to develop your project ideas, formulate a fundraising strategy and submit funding bids. We also help groups to develop alternative income generation strategies, through sales and marketing.

We provide training and guidance on commissioning processes, and work with local commissioners to make these as fair, transparent and accessible as possible.



We bring local VCSE groups together and facilitate partnership and consortium development bids so that local groups can take advantage of commissioning opportunities when these arise.

Please see Spectrum Sunderland for more information on this article


VONNE European Funding Update                   September 2018

  1. ESF Opt Ins Update

1a. Big Lottery Building Better Opportunities programme

A meeting was held in May with representatives from BBO projects across the country, DWP Managing Authority and Big Lottery Fund to address areas of concern/ unclear guidance etc.

Link to document outlining the discussions and responses from DWPMA and BLF

In September BLF are deciding whether or not there will be offering a BBO 2 Opt-In opportunity for the second half of the programme. Watch this space.


1b. DWP Opt In – Links to Work project Working Links

  • The scheme will offer £6 Million (subject to exchange rate changes) supporting ESA claimants who have been through the work programme but not gained employment at the end of it.
  • The contract has been awarded to Working Links

In December 2017, the criteria for this provision has been widened beyond those on the Work programme 2+ years.  Further information:

DWP is currently consulting with NELEP and the local ESIF Sub-Committee about a two year extension to the DWP Opt In contract (also dependent on contractor meeting performance measures).

1c. ESFA Opt In programme

  • In the Summer the NELEP area ESIF sub- committee agreed on approximately £21 million to focus on 5 areas:
  • NE Community Grants
  • Skills Support for Workforce
  • Skills Support for Unemployed
  • NE Employment Skills for NEETs and pre-NEETs
  • Connecting Business and Education


All the current contracts have been awarded extensions and growth and the contracts will now run until April 2019.  This has resulted in nearly £1million additional Community Grants funding to be spent up until April 2019.  Recent communications about the next application period have be disseminated.

The ESFA have launched ITT for a new contracting period for the second half of the programme from April 2019 with a deadline of Wednesday 19th September.  The four areas that the new contract will cover are:

  • NE Community Grants (£1.3 million)
  • Skills Support for Workforce
  • Skills Support for Unemployed
  • NE Employment Skills for NEETs and pre-NEETs
  1.  ESF Open Calls Update

IP 1.1 Employment Support for Young People 18 -29

8 applications were invited to Full Application and 7 Full Applications received – however 3 have now withdrawn – therefore only 4 applications currently in appraisal –

v Generation NE

v Building Steps for Young People to a brighter future (NTC)

v NE1 Works - £163,703

v Back in the Game - £150,308

Total ESF = £2,267,518 – all More Developed.


IP1.1 Access to Employment – Specialist Support for Unemployed and Inactive

6 Outline Assessments considered – 5 applications invited to Full Application with a deadline of 28th May. 4 applications received currently in appraisal –

v Durham Advance (DCC)

v Building Steps to a brighter future for the unemployed (NTC)

v My Future Matters (Building Futures East)

v A19 (Northern Rights)


£1,732,035 MD, £1,904,861 TR, Total ESF = £3,636,896

IP 2.1 Digital Skills North East

5 Outline Assessments considered, 4 invited to Full Application with a deadline of 7th May – currently in appraisal

v DigitalDurham

v Unlocking Digital skills for North East Businesses

v Digital Skills North East

v Digital Skills for Growth

£1.990, 184 MD, £3,885,103 TR, Total ESF = £5,875,287


IP1.2 Sustainable Integration of County Durham Young People– 1 Full application – currently on hold following the advice of the January ESIF – awaiting the outcome of the YEI extension.

v DurhamDirections - £4,789,999 ESF

IP 1.4 Specialist Support for those furthest away from the labour market – 9 applications received – 1 application withdrawn.

v Directions (Acumen Community Enterprise Development Trust

 v L!NKCD – (DCC)

v Make a change (Gateshead Council)

v North of Tyne Working Homes (Northumberland CC)

v Reach (Community First North East CIC)

v Recovery Works (DISC)

v Under one Roof (Northern Rights)

v Women First (Angelou Centre)

£4,793,623 MD, £3,228,192 TR, Total ESF = £8,021,815

IP 2.1 Raising the skill levels of the North East Health & Social Care workforce – OC25S17P0874 - 4 applications received, 1 failed gateway – 3 to be considered by the ESIF Committee and then move onto appraisal.

v Caring for the future

v Expert Skills 4 Care

v Raising the Health and Social Care Skills

£521,029 MD, £1,464,389 TR – Total ESF = £1,985,418


  1. CLLD Update


  • The following five CLLD projects have been awarded funding and are now progressing activity.

Gateshead - The area covers most of central Gateshead, stretching along the southern banks of the River Tyne from Dunston to Pelaw, encompassing the town centre and south to Chowdene. The total population is around 105,000. The area was chosen due to high levels of disadvantage and the proximity to key employment centres including Team Valley Trading Estate, central Newcastle and Follingsby (with links to the new EZ proposal). It offers a coherent economic geography linking areas of advantage and disadvantage.  

Newcastle/ North Tyneside- The North of Tyne CLLD area includes the 20% most deprived wards in Newcastle (from Benwell, Scotswood to Walker along the river and parts of Fenham, Blakelaw, Kenton and Woolsington wards) and Wallsend in North Tyneside.)   

View the project website here 

Sunderland - Focused on the most deprived areas of Sunderland’s urban core (including Washington), extending from Hendon and the city centre in the east to Washington in the west, along the Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor.  The project will target the most serious disadvantage, particularly those that rank in the top 10% IMD, including specific clusters in Southwick, Hendon, Redhill, Pallion and Sandhill. More information on the CLLD page of Sunderland Council website

North Durham - Area encompassing Dipton, Annfield Plain, Stanley, Chester-le-Street and Sacriston.

South Durham - Area encompassing Spennymoor, Bishop Auckland and Shildon.


  1.  General ESIF Programme Update

4a.  N+3 and Performance Framework targets

At the end of December 2018 ESF and ERDF 2014-2020 programme will be appraised against N+3 and performance framework targets.

ESF are confident that they will meet both targets across Priority Axis 1 & 2 based on committed funds but need to focus on processing of claims (financial, outputs and results) for the remainder of the year to ensure that this is the case.

ERDF is confident that it will meet the N+3 targets but it is likely that they will not meet Performance Framework targets in some Priority Axis which will mean a movement of funds into better performing priority axis.

4b. FOREX changes and Reserve Fund

Both ESF and ERDF have recently reviewed financial allocations from EU against revised FOREX levels which has resulted in a 40% uplift in funds in sterling.  The impact on LEP area allocations has been shared with local areas and ESIF Sub-Committees will be discussing future call plans and opt-in arrangements (for ESF) in light of these uplifted allocations.

In Autumn/ Winter 2019 a central Reserve Fund is going to be established to manage potential underspends in the programme with work done in the next six –nine months with local areas to maximise their local allocations.  Any allocations that LEP areas struggle to commit by Autumn/Winter 2019 will be put into the Reserve Fund along with any further funds realised by future changes in FOREX rates.  At the moment plans for the management of the Reserve Fund are yet to be finalised but likely to be used to support national initiatives, opportunities, challenges and local economic needs/ economic shocks.  The Reserve Fund will also be used to support the transition from ESIF programme to Shared Prosperity Fund.

4c. BREXIT No Deal Scenario

Along with other technical notices, the Government has recently published technical notices on the impact on ESIF Funding if UK leaves EU without a deal.

ESF statement (same applies to ERDF)

Before March 2019, organisations will continue to receive the same level of funding as they would if the UK was an EU member until the end of the 2014-2020 programme period.

After March 2019 if there's no deal, UK organisations would be unable to access EU funding for ESF or ERDF projects after Exit day. The Chancellor previously announced that the government would guarantee ESF projects agreed before we leave the EU. In July, this guarantee was extended so it would cover all ESF projects that would have been funded by the EU under the 2014-2020 programme period. This guarantees investment in skills and employment up until the end of the current ESF period.

The Managing Authorities will administer the guarantee through existing national and local arrangements, "modified and simplified as appropriate in line with wider rules on public spending". Projects will be managed to ensure "appropriate audit, monitoring and evaluation arrangements are in place and that all spending delivers good value for money and fits domestic strategic priorities."

Organisations should continue applying for and delivering funding under current arrangements with confidence that the funding guarantee applies if there is no negotiated agreement between the UK and the EU.

UK Shared Prosperity Fund

Notes on update provided by Ben Pledger from Cities and Local Growth Unit on UK Shared Prosperity Fund to the UK Growth Programme Board 21st March 2018.

  • Future local growth funding is being looked at alongside a number of other pieces of work including LEP reform and the role of Local Industrial Strategies.
  • From the Joint Progress Report announced in December, UK’s involvement in ESIF funds will now continue until the end of 2020 (unless we have a no deal situation). 
  • They are planning to have UK SPF in place no later than January 2021 and are very clear for the need of a clear transition over, with no gap/ cliff edge.


Other keys drivers for UK SPF development:

  • Reducing inequalities, both amongst the population and across UK devolved nations and UK regions.
  • Delivering the Industrial Strategy across its five pillars - Ideas, Infrastructure, People, Place, Business Environment
  • Simpler to administer and more local


BEIS and MHCLG are carrying out a number of early engagement events, including one held in July in Gateshead and wider public consultation later in 2018. View the slides from the Gateshead event.

They are currently working on first principles approaches to the UK SPF:

  • objectives of the fund
  • role of institutions in the delivery - central government, devolved governments, metro mayors/combined authorities, LEPs
  • design principles.


James Scott, Team Leader of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund development team will be attending the VONNE Conference on 18th October, providing an update on the UKSPF and also hosting a workshop to give the NE sector a chance to engage in development discussions.