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Locally-led projects to see £200m funding boost

Almost 500 locally-led projects are set to be backed by a £200m government funding package, as part of the Community Renewal Fund, in order to help level up communities across the UK.

Among the schemes to receive support include skills training for the unemployed and investment in businesses developing low carbon technology. In particular, the Government hopes the new funding will help empower the economies and local populations in towns, villages and coastal communities across the UK.

Announced by Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove, the funding follows a £1.7bn award the week prior in the latest Budget, which will be used to deliver the first round of the UK-wide Levelling Up Fund, backing 105 projects, and the first 21 projects benefitting from the £150m Community Ownership Fund.

The latest funding award also has a keen focus on the UK’s net-zero commitments, with many of the successful projects also having positive implications for the path to net-zero carbon emissions.

One example in Grimsby will see nearly £450,000 awarded to support the modernisation of the seafood industry, helping to reduce its carbon footprint through improved energy efficiency of its cold storage and transport fleet.

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said: “We are levelling up in every corner of the United Kingdom, backing locally-led projects that will make a real difference to communities and help to deliver our net zero commitments. 

“There is incredible talent spread right across our great country and this investment will unlock the opportunities to match.”

The £200m funding through the UK Community Renewal Fund will also help local areas prepare for the launch of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in 2022, the scheme that will see UK-wide funding at least match EU money, reaching around £1.5 billion a year.

Projects to be funded through the Community Renewal Fund include:

  • £1m to train people in retrofit and modern construction skills in Devon, helping people secure jobs and ensuring local businesses have the skills they need.
  • £400,000 will create a ‘Seaweed Academy’ in Argyll and Bute, providing training and education in seaweed farming. This money will help supercharge regional growth in an industry which has a crucial role to play in the UK’s net zero ambitions.
  • £200,000 to support unemployed and disadvantaged people in Carmarthenshire to start their own business by investing in digital and entrepreneurial skills. The programme will also fund a bootcamp for female entrepreneurs, creating a networking group for women in business.
  • £73,000 to support people with conditions such as Tourette's, OCD, ADHD and Dyslexia in Antrim and Newtownabbey into employment and prepare for the world of work.
  • £187,000 to support the development of electric vehicle charging across whole of the Scottish Borders to benefit residents, the public sector and businesses and ensure maximisation of commercial opportunities and reduction in carbon footprint.
  • £480,000 to support local businesses in Blackburn and Darwen to adopt low carbon production technologies, bring low carbon products to market, source low carbon components, reduce energy consumption and become low carbon technology installers. The funding will develop a low carbon skills academy to identify the skills necessary for low carbon sector and design low carbon training programmes.
  • £218,000 will fund an employment and wellbeing programme for people living in housing associations in the Scottish Borders. The programme will deliver digital skills, financial literacy, and promote good mental health.
  • £808,000 will help create 40 online training centres for people who don’t have access to the internet in the North East to improve digital skills and open up digital employment opportunities.
  • £120,000 to support young people not in education, employment, or training, adults struggling with their mental health and people who have left the Armed Forces in York to build confidence and transferable skills through archaeological excavations.
  • £426,000 will help small businesses in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon innovate and reduce their carbon footprint.
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