Between 2007 and 2013 the European Structural Funds programmes (European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund) supported more than 800 individual projects across Scotland, boosting economic activity and increasing employment. The focus of these projects was varied and included, windfarm construction, restoration of remote mountain paths, renewal of transport hubs in deprived urban communities and increasing the employability of individuals across Scotland.
The European Structural Funds department of the Scottish Government has released an ebook - European Structural Funds: A Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Scotland in Europe - to highlight the achievements of the 2007-2013 programmes and raise awareness of the European Structural Funds 2014-2020 programmes. The ebook provides an insight into the positive benefits that European Structural Funds can have by examining case studies of some of the 800 funded projects.
For the period 2014-2020, €985million of EU funding will be invested through the regional and social funds and the European Structural Funds programme across Scotland. This funding will be matched by Scottish Government, its agencies and local authorities to facilitate total investment in the region of €2 billion. The Scottish Government will work with its partners to ensure funding is used effectively to achieve the Scottish Government’s wider aspiration to deliver sustainable economic growth for all in Scotland.
A few of the projects benefiting from European Structural Funds are included below.
The Ayrshire Youth Employment Service
In 2013 Ayrshire Youth Employment Service started to receive European Social Fund and, to date,has received around £1.6 million.
In a relatively short period of time the project has provided funding for 1250 16-24 year olds with 50% of the national minimum wage for 26 weeks employment with an SME, with the employer matching the additional 50%. This has encouraged local employers to hire unemployed young people when lack of resources might otherwise have prohibited them from doing so. The project also works closely with local businesses to ensure young people learn the skills and attitude necessary to sustain long-term employment.
The Prince’s Trust
Prince’s Trust projects across Scotland have received European Structural Fund support since 2008. One programme in particular, ‘Addressing Disadvantage Through Team’, has been instrumental in supporting young people to overcome barriers to achievement – whether a lack of education or training, or simply confidence and motivation. Due to its success, the project was extended in 2011 and expanded to include several new training courses .
Since 2009, the £3.2 million of funding has helped the programme to support 4,608 participants, with vast majority progressing into employment, education or training.
Whitlawburn Community Energy
Whitlawburn is listed on the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivations (SIMD 2009) as one of the 5% most deprived parts of Scotland. The West Whitlawburn Housing Cooperative runs 644 properties; 543 of those are multi-storey and tenement flats. Fuel poverty was a major issue for the local residents whose properties, due to their construction type, could not readily be altered to install more cost-efficient heating systems.
European Regional Development Funds support worth £2.3 million was awarded to the project in 2013, allowing the local housing cooperative to build a new energy centre providing hot water and heating to 543 households. Those households were converted from electrical storage and panel heating systems to low carbon, renewable community heating, providing tenants with lower heating bills, improved heating control, and reduced levels of fuel poverty. Tenants are now benefiting from an average 20% reduction in heat and hot water costs.
More information on these projects, and others like them, can be accessed in the ebook: European Structural Funds: A Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Scotland in Europe