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UK Community Renewal Fund: Invitation to submit project bids

Last Updated 13/04/2021 5:00pm

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Introduction

Devon County Council is seeking bids from organisations wishing to deliver activity as part of the UK Community Renewal Fund.

Please read the UK Community Renewal Fund Prospectus and the UK Community Fund Technical Note for Project Applicants and Deliverers before starting work on a bid. They are available on gov.uk.

The Prospectus provides detailed information on the objectives of the Fund, the types of projects it intends to support and how it operates, including the process and selection criteria that will be used to assess bids.

Successful UK Community Renewal Fund bids will be for 2021/22 only and activity must end in March 2022.

Background

To help local areas prepare for the introduction of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, the UK Government is providing funding in 2021/22 through the UK Community Renewal Fund. We are interested in bids that build on local insight and knowledge, and project proposals that align with long-term strategic plans for local growth, target people most in need and support community renewal.

In addition, projects should show how they complement other national and local provision. A focus for this Fund is to support innovation and new ideas in these areas, investing in pilots that draw on local insights and which will help places to prepare for the introduction of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in 2022.

Devon County Council has been designated as a lead authority by the UK Government. As a lead authority, Devon County Council is responsible for:

  • issuing this invitation
  • receiving bids
  • selecting the bids that will be sent to UK Government for consideration
  • paying grants to successful projects and managing their performance

Full details of the role of lead authorities can be found in the UK Community Renewal Fund Prospectus.

What type of bids are we looking for?

Projects must deliver activity that is line with the UK Community Renewal Fund Prospectus and align with at least one of these investment priorities:

Investment in skills

The UK Government is encouraging prospective bids that have an emphasis on facilitating work-based training, upskilling and retraining of the workforce. This includes the promotion of digital skills and digital inclusion.

Investment for local business

The UK Government is encouraging prospective bids that have an emphasis on supporting new entrepreneurship and growth sectors of business. This may include projects that support the taking on of new employees and promoting the development of existing staff. This may also include projects that develop new products to market and services that have an innovative design and that support local decarbonisation measures.

Investment in communities and place

The UK Government is encouraging prospective bids that give consideration of enabling feasibility studies to deliver local carbon and energy projects. This includes exploration of opportunities for cultural or community led regeneration activity, improving green spaces and preserving local assets. It may also include promoting rural connectivity.

Supporting people into employment

The UK Government is encouraging prospective bids that place an emphasis on supporting individuals to access local services or provision into employment. This may include projects that identify and address barriers to employment amongst the hardest to reach, raising local aspiration through sustainable employment, and seeking to support additional basic skills provision.

 

There are no financial allocations to these priorities.

The UK Government anticipates supporting a range of projects by theme and size, but applicants are encouraged to maximise impact and deliverability through larger projects (£500,000+) where this is possible.

As 90% of funding available through the UK Community Renewal Fund is revenue funding and only available in 2021/22, projects should be predominantly, or exclusively revenue based. Projects that focus predominantly on the construction or major refurbishment of buildings, the purchase of land or the purchase of large pieces of equipment will not be supported.

Local Priorities

In selecting the bids that will be forwarded to the UK Government for consideration Devon County Council will prioritise those applications that have the greatest potential to deliver against both the UK Government priorities and Devon’s own priorities for recovery and growth

As part of this approach, the Council is specifically seeking projects which will reduce economic and social inequalities across the Devon area, whether through supporting our most vulnerable residents or hardest hit communities; or promoting wider growth and economic / job creation opportunities.

This will include additional support for:

  • Young People aged 19-24, notably those most at risk of NEET or already NEET; those with a disability; those in care / leaving care, or those wider a wider barrier to work or learning;
  • Older people (i.e those over 50), particularly those lacking lower levels transferrable skills;
  • Those with a disability, mental health issue or other health related barrier to work or learning;
  • Rural, coastal and urban communities experiencing significant and ongoing challenges around unemployment, educational attainment, health disparity or other factors which drive local deprivation;
  • Communities facing additional economic pressures from the onset of COVID 19, notably those with an over-representation of businesses / employment within the Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure sectors; and
  • Business support, skills and training, and regeneration activity which promotes sustainable enterprise activity, additional business innovation, promote new job creation or enable urban renewal within harder to reach locations / hardest hit locations.

Devon County Council would strongly advise applicants to consider the priorities set out through the Team Devon Recovery Prospectus, as well as the Heart of the South West Local Industrial Strategy and Local Skills Report when preparing relevant bids.

Geographic Coverage

The Community Renewal Fund within Devon is open to project proposals from any project covering all or part of the Devon administrative county area. This is made up of the 8 Districts (‘Places’) of North Devon, Mid Devon, Exeter, East Devon, Teignbridge, South Hams, West Devon and Torridge.

As part of the Government’s approach to the Community Renewal Fund however, it has identified 100 ‘priority places’ around the country which it wishes to promote through the fund. Within Devon, these are Torridge and West Devon.

Devon County Council would therefore particularly welcome bids which prioritise activity within these two districts.

Multi Area Bids

The UK Government has identified that added value that may be gained from individual ‘places’ working together through the Community Renewal Fund to provide improved impacts and outcomes.

Devon County Council therefore welcomes bids which seek to incorporate one or more ‘places’ in their submission. This includes bids which incorporate ‘places’ in neighbouring upper tier areas, notably within Cornwall, Somerset, Plymouth or Torbay.

Where projects are seeking however to work across multiple areas, Devon County Council would advise applicants to carefully consider the Government’s approach to priority places, and the relative weighting these will receive through appraisal.

Aligning Priorities

Devon County Council recognises that the strongest bids will often bring together more than one of the investment priorities outlined. As lead authority, Devon would welcome such alignment, seeking to achieve best value and greatest impact from the portfolio of proposals it will eventually submit to the UK Government.

To highlight the types of projects sought, a short sample of blended projects is provided below in illustration:

Digital Inclusion

Spanning all four of the investment priorities listed by the UK Government, and meeting the County Council’s equality priority a single digital inclusion programme may draw together skills and inclusion activity, as well as business entrepreneurship and innovation support activity. This could include the provision of local connectivity hubs, outreach activities to support those furthest from the labour market, small scale capital improvements to rural connectivity that supports business diversification, and other measures and support to contribute to reductions in local carbon production and increase the potential for trade.

Accelerated Growth Opportunities

Seeking to capitalise on new employment within growth sectors such as health and / or green engineering, a project may include elements which promote improved diversity in local recruitment, promote remote or more flexible learning approaches, and support local regeneration activity / specialist capacity building around skills and training. This could include support for new sector-based work academies and bootcamps, rapid upskilling programmes and feasibility work to explore the reuse/ renewal of local assets for learning and employment in core sectors.

Promoting More Resilient Communities

Linking across the four investment priorities, a regeneration project may seek to draw together local services and business opportunities, linking in and empowering local communities to take ownership and build sustainable employment and investment.  This might include buy-local initiatives to stimulate the opening of village and town centres, community learning and outreach, and upskilling and reskilling programmes.

Encouraging Entrepreneurship

Spanning all the investment priorities, an individual enterprise led project may seek to promote student entrepreneurship, social enterprise and new start up support. This may include projects focusing on disadvantaged groups and stimulating business bounce back and growth through feasibility work on green tech. The project may also seek to address social mobility, upskilling of individuals, encourage business leadership and management, and support work hubs and enterprise facilities.

Green Economy

Linking the four themes, projects may focus on developing green skills and promoting employment and new investment opportunities in the green sector.  This may include new courses, green business resource efficiency programmes, ties to community energy, natural capital pilots, feasibility of woodland enterprise zone, link to digital biosphere, attracting conservation and responsible tourists 

How Bids Will be Assessed

As the lead authority, Devon County Council will assess all bids submitted. Bids will be assessed against:

  • the gateway criteria set out in the UK Community Renewal Fund Prospectus – bids that fail to meet these criteria are ineligible support and will be rejected;
  • the extent to which they meet the objectives of UK Community Renewal Fund; and
  • the extent to which bids would support the delivery of local growth and employment support priorities as set out through this prospectus

Following assessment Devon County Council will submit those eligible bids which most strongly meet the UK Community Renewal Fund and local priorities to the UK Government for consideration, up to a maximum of £3m per place.

The UK Government will assess all bids submitted by lead authorities against the criteria set out in the UK Community Renewal Fund Prospectus.

The UK Government will announce the outcome of the assessment process from late July 2021 onwards.

Devon County Council will enter into a funding agreement with successful bidders.

Submitting a Bid

Bids must be submitted using the UK Community Renewal Fund Application Form. Bids submitted in any other format will not be accepted.

Bids must be submitted to Devon County Council using this email address: ukcrf@devon.gov.uk

Bids must be submitted by 00:00 on 19 May 2021

The UK Community Renewal Fund is a competitive process and Devon County Council and the UK Government will not enter into discussions with bidders.

 

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