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Sector Support Fund

The Sector Support Fund (SSF)  supports one-off discrete pieces of work which are of a pan-LEP nature with a sector focus that brings demonstrable benefit and has support across the LEP.

It uses Growing Places Fund (GPF) Revenue grant to fund a programme of works to support the sector focussed activities that are being undertaken on a pan-LEP basis and that are predominantly led by the SELEP working groups. When the Growing Places Fund (GPF) grant was originally awarded, a proportion of the fund was earmarked as revenue which is being used for the Sector Support Fund.


Since its inception SELEP has enabled a number of sector-based working groups that function across the LEP area. These working groups are made up of representatives of any number of different organisations who give their time on a voluntary basis, as the benefits of cross-working have been clear. However, as these groups have matured, it has become apparent that there is additional work or projects that the groups could put into place that would bring further benefits but finding funding for these projects is increasingly difficult. The Sector Support Fund has been designed to be catalyst funding for this.

Application Criteria

Table 1: Eligibility Criteria and Guidance Note are set out below.

Eligibility criterion: Notes:
Scope must be pan LEP The project must be able to demonstrate impact in at least three of the SELEP federated areas, preferably all four.
Federated areas must support the project The project proposal must be discussed with the SELEP lead officer/Director for every federated area impacted. Endorsement for the bid must also be sought from the relevant Federated Board of the lead Upper Tier Authority.
The outcomes must align with SELEP's overarching objective to create the conditions for increased jobs and homes, safeguarding existing jobs and raising skill levels Given the low investment levels of this fund, it is not expected that the projects will directly deliver greater numbers of jobs and homes but applicants must be able to demonstrate how the project will be part of creating the conditions for greater numbers of jobs and homes.
The project must align with the SELEP priorities as defined in the SELEP Economic Strategy Statement Applicants should highlight which objective(s) that their project supports. If you are unable to identify an objective to align to, this would suggest your project is not suitable for this funding.
The funding must be for a discrete piece of work, not ongoing or business as usual (BAU) costs This funding is project based, that is a stand-alone piece of work, with defined start and finish dates and clearly identified inputs and outputs.
Minimum application value is £25,000 and maximum application value is £200,000 Bids outside of this range will not be considered.
Funding will be awarded as a grant to support revenue spending only Capital bids will not be considered.
Match funding of 30% must be demonstrated Applicants must be able to evidence at least 30% of match funding at the time of application. This match can be either cash or non-cash. The source of this match must be identified and other SELEP funding or SELEP resource (including SELEP working group time) cannot be submitted as match.
Projects are expected to be a maximum of 12 months duration. Exceptions will be considered on a case by case basis Funding can be provided in more than one financial year if the 12 month period straddles two financial years.
The project must demonstrate Value for Money and comply with the SELEP Assurance Framework Further guidance on demonstrating Value for Money in a proportional manner can be found in Appendix 1.
The project must be supported by a lead County/Unitary Authority or equivalent A grant agreement will be implemented between SELEP and the lead upper tier authority. Other contracting routes will only be considered on an exceptional basis.

How to apply

The process that applicants need to follow is detailed in the Sector Support Fund application form (available to download below). Please also follow the link below to view the full guidance note. In the first instance, applicants should make contact with the SELEP lead for the relevant working group (see list below). If there isn’t a working group for the particular sector focus of the bid, please use the general contact email address,, and the most suitable contact will respond. All applications should be made using the application form and submitted via the email address, and your SELEP contact should be copied in.

Sector Support Fund guidance note

Download the guidance note

Sector Support Fund application form

Download the application form

Bidding period

The allocation of funding is dependent on funds being available. Information on the current value of funds available in each year can be found via your SELEP contact, see contacts below, or by emailing the Secretariat at The following sets out the timetable for a series of open calls for projects in 2019/20. If the annual allocation is not fully depleted through the first call for projects then the remaining calls for projects will be launched until the annual funding has been fully allocated.

Strategic Board meeting 12 June 2020 2 October 2020 11 December 2020
Bid Submission 1 May 2020 14 August 2020 23 October 2020
Independent Review of bid by the SELEP Accountable Body 4th to 15th May 2020 17 August to 4 September 2020 26 October to 13 November 2020
Strategic Board report to be published 29 May 2020 25 September 2020 27 November 2020
Note: all bids are subject to sufficient SSF being available

How we prioritise and appraise projects

An independent review of the Business Case will be completed by the SELEP Accountable Body against the Eligibility Criteria set out in Table 1 of the guidance note and the requirements of the SELEP Assurance Framework. This review of projects is to ensure that the requirements of the SELEP Assurance Framework to ensure that all investments are independently evaluated are met. The appraisal will be proportionate to the value of the investment. If your project does not meet all of the eligibility criteria, it is not suitable for this funding. In this case, please discuss further with the SELEP Secretariat who may be able to help you identify other, more suitable, funding sources.

View the SELEP Assurance Framework


Where total calls for SSF exceed the amount of funding available bids will then be prioritised as per the Table 3 of the Guidance note (see Prioritisation Criteria below). An initial technical prioritisation of the project, informed by the information presented within the SSF application form, will be led by the SELEP Directors Group, based on the outcome of the independent evaluation of bids and the assessment criteria. This will then be presented to the SELEP Strategic Board or Investment Panel.

Prioritisation criteria
Strategic Fit > Scale of benefits > Delivery > Rationale for SSF Investment > Sector Support Fund available
Sector Support Fund project prioritisation
Download project prioritisation information

Project approval

Following a successful appraisal, SELEP Secretariat will recommend your project to SELEP Strategic Board for endorsement. The lead times for a funding decision are detailed in Table 2 above (also contained in the guidance note). More information on dates of all SELEP meetings is available here.

SELEP working group contacts

Since its inception SELEP has enabled a number of sector-based working groups that function across the LEP area. The Secretariat contacts for SELEP’s working groups are:

Find out more about the SELEP working groups