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Devon bids for Community Renewal Funding

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A programme of bids totalling more than £12.2 million has been submitted by Devon County Council to a new Government funding scheme which aims to support communities and businesses to recover after the Coronavirus pandemic.

The County Council is bidding for a share of the £200million Community Renewal Fund, which has been made available as part of a year-long test in advance of the launch of the Government replacement for EU funding, the Shared Prosperity Fund.

Devon’s bid is made up 16 projects from across the county which have the potential to generate around 620 jobs, support the creation of 400 new businesses, and help 3,000 people to retrain.

Earlier this year organisations were invited by the County Council, which was chosen by Government as the Lead Authority in Devon, to put forward their innovative project ideas to help kickstart the local economy. The aim was to find initiatives which invest in skills and job opportunities, support the growth of local businesses, and help local communities become more resilient and sustainable.

More than £8.5 million of the bid submission is for projects in Mid Devon, Torridge, and West Devon to help with the national levelling-up agenda, addressing economic and social inequalities in deprived communities hardest hit by the impact of the pandemic.

Among the schemes which make up the overall bid programme are:

Digital Devon: digital upskilling provided by Devon and Cornwall Training Provider Network;
Innovation for Youth and Community: education, employment and training for disadvantaged adults and young people provided by Petroc;
Ability not disability: employment programme for people with disabilities led by Devon County Council;
Velocity: business support and training for Devon’s voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors provided by Cosmic;
Mid Devon Regeneration: support for regeneration and recovery led by Mid Devon District Council;
West Devon Rural Active and Community Development: support for rural connectivity and renewal led by West Devon Borough Council;
Devon Start and Grow: support for start-up and micro businesses by YTKO.

Photo of Councillor Rufus Gilbert
Councillor Rufus Gilbert

Councillor Rufus Gilbert, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills, said: “We received an incredible amount of project ideas from all corners of Devon and all of them had to go through a rigorous appraisal to ensure they met the criteria of the Community Renewal Fund. As we look to build back better after the pandemic, the projects selected to go forward in our bid offer potential to provide targeted support to aid a strong economic recovery.

“This process is also important in showing how Devon can work together to deliver funding on behalf of Government, in advance of the launch of the larger Shared Prosperity Fund next year. It is important that we make a strong case for local delivery through this bid, showing that the County understands the projects that count, and that we are able to guide funding to where it will matter most over the next few years.

“We’ve submitted a strong programme bid of 16 projects, all of which can have a positive impact in our county and we feel they all fully deserve support from Government. No doubt the Government’s fund will be oversubscribed and there will be fierce competition from right across the country, but we feel if our bid is successful it can make a real difference.”

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) will be considering submissions and an announcement on successful bids is due next month.

The full list of projects which make up the programme bid are:

Ability not disability – Devon County Council.
Employment programme for people with disabilities. £601,134.

Devon Elevation Fund – Devon County Council.
Delegated Grant Fund. £1,174,928.

Devon Enterprise Support for Social Enterprise – Dartington School for Social Entrepreneurs.
Deliver support to social entrepreneurs. £649,369.

Devon retrofit skills and business accelerator – Retrofit Foundation.
Delivery of retrofit upskilling in Devon. £995,284.

Devon Start and Grow – YTKO.
Start up business support activity / Micro business support. £1,050,000.

Digital Devon – Devon and Cornwall Training Provider Network.
Digital upskilling. £585,200

Eden Grounds – Eden Project.
Feasibility of a new project on the M5 linked to food and tourism. £250,000.

Engaging Enterprise – Serco.
Self-employment support. £795,171.

Green/Blue Biosphere – The Biosphere Foundation.
Development of marine and green rural innovation and natural capital with a Northern Devon focus centred on Torridge. £1,350,140.

Innovation for Youth and Community – Petroc.
Education, employment and training for disadvantaged adults and young people. £503,074.

Mid Devon Regeneration – Mid Devon District Council.
Package of regeneration activity and feasibility studies seeking to support recovery activity in Mid Devon, with a focus on Tiverton. £1,365,201.

Promoting Innovation and Enterprise – Petroc.
Investment in business and skills. £500,939.

Stronger Together – Mid Devon Mobility.
Accessibility Focus for rural communities. £500,449.

Unlocking Agri-tech in Devon’s rural communities – Devon County Council.
Developing Agri-tech in rural communities. £503,318

Velocity VCSE – Cosmic.
Business support, training and peer-group development, designed to build capacity, resilience and innovation in Devon’s voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors. £500,034.

West Devon Rural Active and Community Development – West Devon Borough Council.
Package of support for rural connectivity and local renewal including potential around a local museum. £922,339.

The Shared Prosperity Fund is the Government’s preferred replacement for the previous EU Funding regime, through which Devon received £92m between 2014-2020.