Building Better Opportunities Funding Update

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Briefing/ consultation event feedback

Throughout November and December we ran five briefing/ consultation events across the
city region to raise awareness of the ESF opportunities available locally through the Building Better Opportunities opt-in, provide the opportunity to discuss the LEP’s priorities and local need and consult with the VCSE sector on competing priorities for this funding.

132 people from 113 organisations attended the events and provided valuable feedback to
start the process of shaping potential investment priorities for the Building Better Opportunities programme.

If you have been unable to attend any of the workshops, you can download the slides below:

Click here for Slides 1

Click here for Slides 2

Click here for Slides 3

Some interesting feedback was received in the lively discussion groups, which covered a
broad range of topics, as one might expect given the diverse variety of organisations
involved. However, encouragingly, a number of common social inclusion focused themes
emerged, the six most common of which included:

1. Volunteering as a pathway to employment
2. Intermediate Labour Market (ILM) models – i.e. paid jobs/ work placements for priority groups.
3. Digital inclusion
4. Financial inclusion
5. Health (and in particular, mental health)
6. Enterprise

Detailed discussion group write-ups are available on request.

Workshop feedback has been shared with the appropriate lead Local Authority officers responsible for the development of investment priorities for the Inclusive Economy portfolio of the LEP’s ESIF programme, under which the Building Better Opportunities programme sits.

It is likely that some of the above interventions may be able to be funded through other part of the ESIF programme – either through other funding routes within the Inclusive Economy portfolio and/or other portfolio areas (e.g. The Business Economy). So we now need to work with the LEP/ lead Council officers and the Big Lottery Fund to consider the suggested themes within the context of the other ESIF investment portfolios/ funding strands and, ultimately, narrow the six themes down to a more manageable number of project areas that can potentially be funded through Building Better Opportunities.

Beyond the six priority areas identified for the Building Better Opportunities programme, we are confident that other views/ intelligence gleaned from the workshops and the 25 written proposals received since will play a part in shaping LCR’s wider ESIF investment priorities/ plans.

So, overall, the workshops have been a really useful exercise both in terms of informing and consulting with the wider VCSE sector.

Next Steps – Programme Development Phase for Building Better Opportunities

During January to March 2015, we will:

  • Work with the LEP (lead Council officers) and the Big Lottery Fund to agree, from the above short-list, potential investment themes/ project areas for Building Better Opportunities and which of the others may be funded through other ESIF investment strands.
  • Undertake further research, building on the initial work to date, with a view to better informing investment decisions and shaping detailed BBO project specifications
  • Run a range of capacity building workshops (spring 2015) on a range of topics that are relevant to ESF delivery.
  • Potentially run another event (budget permitting) to update the sector on progress.

Later in the Spring, once specific BBO investment priorities have been agreed with the LEP and the Big Lottery Fund, we will stimulate/ facilitate the development of appropriate delivery partnerships to work up project proposals and ultimately apply for BBO funding – for which a competitive, two-stage application process is likely to be launched by the Big Lottery Fund in June 2015.

We are also currently in discussions with Big Lottery Fund regarding potential to extend the Programme Development phase until June (from March, as originally planned) to bridge the potential gap until the stage 1 application window for the main BBO programme opens. We will keep people informed as to the outcome of these discussions.

Background: Big Lottery Fund Building Better Opportunities

Following our successful application to the Big Lottery Fund, VOLA (through Sefton CVS as lead body) in partnership with LCVS and Network for Europe (NFE) are leading on the Programme Development phase of their Building Better Opportunities (ESF opt-in) programme, which is part of the European Structural Investment Fund (ESIF) 2014-20 programme. Building Better Opportunities (BBO) sits under the ‘social inclusion and combating poverty’ (Inclusive Economy) strand of the ESIF programme.

The ESIF programme is being overseen at a local level by the Liverpool City Region (LCR) Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). We are working with the local Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector, the LEP and the Big Lottery Fund to shape the development of LCR’s Building Better Opportunities programme, the application process for which is anticipated to be launched in summer 2015, with delivery from early 2016.
If you have any queries regarding the Building Better Opportunities programme in LCR, please contact either:

  • Stuart McGrory (VOLA)
  • Colin Heaney (LCVS)
  • Andy Churchill (NFE)

The Big Lottery Fund’s BBO web page is available here

You can also see Liverpool City Region’s ESIF Investment Strategy using the link below:
Click here to download the Liverpool City Region’s Investment Strategy

Or for more information about Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the 2014-20 ESIF strategy and, please click here.

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