ESF and ERDF are the two main structural funds which are most relevant to the third sector

ESF



The European Social Fund (ESF)

The purpose of the ESF is to raise skills and job prospects. It has three Priority areas:

1. Tackling poverty through sustainable employment
2. Skills for growth
3. Youth employment and attainment  

Its three Priority areas are further subdivided into a series of Specific Objectives. For example Achieving Change through Employment (ACE), hosted by SOVA, is funded under Priority 1, Specific Objective 1 for East Wales and Priority 1, Specific Objective 2 for West Wales and the Valleys.  

 ERDF

The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

The purpose of the ERDF is to support research, strengthen businesses, promote renewable energy and improve infrastructure. It has four priority areas:

1. Research and innovation
2. SME competitiveness
3. Renewable energy and energy efficiency
4. Connectivity and urban development  

Its four Priority areas are further subdivided into a series of Specific Objectives. For example Social Business Wales, hosted by the Wales Co-operative Centre, is funded under Priority 2, Specific Objective 2.2