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Supporting local partnerships

Experience shows that many of the issues that ESF projects address can be complex matters. In such cases, the ESF supports partnerships between organisations, including at the level of local communities, which can deliver the critical mass needed to find and implement solutions, for example by creating better access to health services.

ESF projects and programmes involve many actors in their preparation and implementation – not only EU and national institutions, but also regional and local authorities, NGOs, local communities, and social partners, including workers' organisations and business representatives.

  • The ESF promotes networking between these stakeholders at EU, national, regional and local levels, in the field of employment and labour market inclusiveness.
  • It also encourages the inclusion of social partners and NGOs in ESF projects, notably where these concern social inclusion, gender equality and equal opportunities.

Supporting community-led local development (CLLD) is a bottom-up approach which recognises that local people and groups, especially those in relatively isolated communities, can have a better knowledge of local problems that need to be addressed as well as a greater sense of ownership and commitment to the success of projects. Together with other funds, like the European Regional Development Fund which finances infrastructure, the ESF can support the employment and social inclusion elements of community-led development strategies.

  • ESF support can address issues such as improving access to public and health services, acting to reduce drop-out rates in local schools, and encouraging entrepreneurship among local communities to meet local needs.
  • ESF projects can also help build the capacity of community-based partners to design and implement a local development strategy, based on identified needs, and find the sources of finance for this. This support can involve training for participants as well as the supply of external expertise.