ESIF | European Social Fund Technical Assistance – Learning Lessons, Creating Capacity

iSE have completed a series of events as part of our provision as Technical Assistance providers for the European Social Fund (ESF).

Our role as technical assistance providers is to support 3rd sector organisations toESF logo 02_0 build their capacities to access funds by increasing awareness, improving our sectors knowledge of rules and processes as well as building partnerships to facilitate 3rd sector access to ESF funding.

We began our training provision earlier this year, raising awareness through our Introduction to ESF Funding workshop. This was followed by two sessions around building knowledge of the process of application, initially with a workshop around submitting an outline application, followed by a third session on the process of submitting a full application.

Feedback from these events showed that attendees felt that their awareness and knowledge of ESF had increased, however we had a more mixed response regarding attendee’s confidence with ESF. Feedback consistently displayed worries by organisations around the monitoring of ESF projects as well as their ability to access ESF funds without a willing partner who had both a large source of match funding, as well as the operational experience in order to meet EU reporting requirements.

The lessons we have learnt from these sessions and the lessons for the 3rd sector is the necessity of large organisations within a partnership, who have both the required match funding as well operational experience. This is a necessity that needs to be built into the foundations of any process of building a partnership and in the roots of our technical assistance to the 3rd sector.