Fresh ideas wanted for Community Renewal Fund

County Hall in Exeter, home of Devon County Council

County Hall in Exeter, home of Devon County Council - Credit: Daniel Clark

Organisations with fresh ideas to help boost Devon’s economy and help those people and businesses hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic are being urged to submit their bids into a new national fund. 

The one-year Community Renewal Fund pilot could be worth up to £24m across Devon this year and is a trial for the Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund. 

The aim of the fund is to encourage innovative schemes to help kickstart the local economy by investing in skills, helping people into employment, supporting local businesses to grow and develop, and helping local communities become more resilient and sustainable. 

The fund is open to schemes from the whole of Devon but a particular priority will be on the hardest hit and most deprived communities in need of an extra boost such as in West Devon and Torridge. 

The county council, which has been chosen by Government as the Lead Authority for Devon, is inviting project bids in line with 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. 

Key themes include digital inclusion, exploiting opportunities for business and employment growth in sectors such as green engineering, health and agritech, encouraging entrepreneurship and business start-ups, and a focus on the green economy. 

In addition, the county council is particularly interested in schemes that will reduce economic and social inequalities across the Devon area, whether by supporting the most vulnerable residents or communities hardest hit during the pandemic, or that promote growth and job creation opportunities. 

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This includes schemes targeting young people who have been so badly affected during the pandemic, those over 50 who lack basic skills, and those with a disability, mental or other health related barrier to employment and progression. 

Interested organisations are being encouraged to find out more and make bids at devon.cc/communityrenewalfund. 

Applications to the Community Renewal Fund must be made to the Council by Monday 17 May. 

Final submissions to the Government are expected to be made by Friday 18 June, 2021.

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