European Structural and Investment Funds Programmes in Scotland: 2022 case studies booklet

A publicity booklet to celebrate and promote the achievements of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Programmes in Scotland in 2022.

European Social Fund Case Studies

Inclusive Growth

Moving people into work in Moray

Thanks to European Social Fund (ESF) support, a consortium of third sector organisations is delivering ‘All in Moray’, an employability project to help people with barriers move into and towards employment in Moray. The consortium is led by Enable and includes Barnardo’s and Apex, and they were awarded up to £413,000 of ESF support through Moray Council’s Challenge Fund.

‘All In Moray’ began in April 2022 with the aim of working with 195 out-of-work people in Moray. The project provides a learning plan for each participant based on each person’s own unique needs and circumstances. The participants are then helped to achieve the aims of their learning plan by key workers in the consortium.

So far, the consortium has registered 17 participants and is working towards registering at least another 25 clients to date. Two clients have already successfully moved into paid employment after being part of the ‘All in Moray’ project.

Client testimonial

“Before we met, I was doing ‘nothing’. I hardly left my house, and I didn’t have any vision for my future.

I started working with Enable Works in April 2022. I felt after meeting you that I had a lot of options for the future. Since then, you have helped me create my CV and covering letter and worked on interview skills.

You arranged a visit to Loch Park centre for disabled adults near Dufftown, and an informal interview. I started a volunteer job there on 12/8/22. This will give me an idea if I want to work in a paid job supporting vulnerable adults or children. You have helped to build my confidence and belief in myself and helped me to make steps forward!

I now feel more comfortable getting out of the house and have a lot more confidence in myself.

I have something to look forward to in the future!”


Progressing parents out of poverty in Stirling

‘Thrive to Maximise’ is a project delivered by Stirling Council since October 2022 with £230,000 of allocated ESF support. It assists parents who are out of work as well as those who experience levels of in-work poverty, seeking to improve their employability and their finances via advice and support.

The team continues to provide holistic support to current participants, many of whom remain fairly removed from work or education outcomes due to issues and barriers in their lives. For example, one client was a mother who came to Scotland from Ukraine with her two children and used to work as a graphic designer. The team helped her to write a new CV, apply for college for a qualification and receive the correct amount of benefits and bursaries.

The ‘Thrive to Maximise’ team have seen an increase in referrals from drop-in sessions for Ukrainian refugees and their sponsors, and have appointed a member of the team to provide dedicated support to refugees in rural areas.

Nevertheless, the team provide support to all parents in the local area who experience poverty. 93 participants have registered with this operation and 39 have achieved a result of employment, qualifications, education/training or improved labour market situation.

Thanks to ESF support, parents in the Stirling Council area who experience poverty are able to massively improve their employment and financial prospects.

Client testimonial

“I came to Scotland with two children from Ukraine – my husband is still in Ukraine. I am a graphic designer and I’m looking for work in Scotland.

I receive support from Katy from the Learning and Employability Team. I’m very grateful to Katy for her help and support. She has helped me rewrite my CV, supported me to gain a Paediatric First Aid Qualification.

I am going to college in Autumn and Katy also helped me apply for college. This is a huge support for me – thank you very much.”


  • ESF contribution to project: £574,000
  • Total project expenditure: £230,000
  • Lead Partner: Stirling Council

Upskilling young people in Angus

The Prince’s Trust receives ESF support as part of the National Third Sector Fund (NTSF), which is managed by Skills Development Scotland. NTSF is a £50.3m employability operation made up of third sector organisations delivering support to unemployed and inactive participants, and has been allocated £22.5m of ESF support.

The Prince’s Trust helps people like Demi, a woman in her early twenties who lives in Arbroath with her five-year-old daughter. Demi had been unemployed for just over two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns, which had also affected her mental health and wellbeing. As a result, leaving the house was a source of anxiety.

Demi’s confidence was low due to being out of work for so long. When discussing a plan of action with the team at the Prince’s Trust, Demi explained that she wanted to explore her options, build her skills back up again and get back into employment, preferably in the field of social care.

Demi was supported to take part in the ‘Explore’ course at the Prince’s Trust in Dundee, a three-day course that aims for young people to push themselves out of their comfort zone and engage with others. She received positive feedback and was subsequently awarded a ‘Development’ award to help pay for driving lessons, as in most cases community care jobs require a driving license.

Demi was keen to look at the next stage of her journey and was due to take part in a Health and Social care course in Dundee. However, before she was able to start, she was unexpectedly successful in applying for a community care post, which she had been looking at for a while. She now feels prepared to play her part in the world of work and has been given her confidence back.

Thanks to ESF support, people like Demi are supported back into employment, which not only helps the individual beneficiary’s mental health and finances, but fills vital vacancies and in doing so helps the broader economy.

Client testimonial

“If it wasn’t for the Prince’s Trust I don’t think I would have been offered the job and I don’t think I would be confident enough to apply myself and put myself out there.”


Getting lives back on track in West Lothian

Next Steps is a programme delivered by Venture Trust as part of the ESF-supported National Third Sector Fund. It provides support to women whose backgrounds have led to their involvement in the criminal justice system and other difficult circumstances such as homelessness, domestic abuse, problem substance use and mental health issues. Women on the Next Steps programme attend a five-day wilderness journey in the Scottish Highlands to experience the full benefits of spending time outdoors.

Jinty was introduced to Venture Trust through involvement in the criminal justice system. She describes her life at that point as rock bottom – a survivor of domestic abuse and sexual violence, Jinty experienced suicidal thoughts and turned to substances to help her cope with everyday life.

As part of the Next Steps course, women have an open space to reflect on their environment back home and share their experiences with the group. The course supports women to identify areas causing harm in their lives as well as identify steps to make positive change. Jinty says she appreciated the time in nature to focus on herself, away from any distractions and external influences. Many outdoor activities were out of her comfort zone, but she gave it her all.

Jinty felt ready to change her life, and thanks to ESF support, Venture Trust was there to give her the tools she needed to make that happen.

Client testimonial

“It was so rewarding to go on a course like that. It opens your eyes up to where you are and where you’re going. I had nothing to focus on before. I didn’t know what I was living for. I had no academics or job prospects. I never thought I was going to work.

“I’m working at West Lothian college as Student President then I’m going to further my studies. I want to work within mental health and the prison service, or to work with young people that haven’t had a good start in life. I’m going to start mentoring young people involved in criminal justice through college as well. We have to show young people it’s not the right road.”




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