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UK Govt Funding – 3 new public investment programmes

UK Government funding – Community Renewal, Levelling Up & Community Ownership Funds

The UK Government has announced three new public investment programmes aimed at Levelling Up communities – ensuring that no community is left behind, especially as the country continues its emergence and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund also act as something of a bridge between European funding streams (ESIF) and the upcoming UK Shared Prosperity Fund

The 2 funding streams that are currently live require organisations to submit bids to their local authority who will then shortlist their approved bids, for a final decision by the UK Government. There are tight timescales on this, as bids have to be with UKG by noon, Friday 18 June.

Three funding streams have been created:

  • Community Renewal Fund – Priority is being given to certain council areas based on a specified methodology; but bids will be considered, and funding may be available if not exhausted in the priority areas.  To ensure the UK Community Renewal Fund funding reaches the most in need, 100 priority places have been identified based on an index of economic resilience across Great Britain which measures productivity, household income, unemployment, skills and population density.  A lead authority has been assigned for each place, in Scotland this is the local authority.  Lead authorities should invite project proposals from a range of local applicants, including voluntary and community sector organisations and then appraise these projects and produce a shortlist of projects up to a maximum of £3 million per place for submission to UK government.

The fund is particularly interested in bids that build on local knowledge, and that demonstrate new and innovative ideas and seeks particularly to invest in the following key areas:

  • Skills
  • Support into employment
  • Investment for local business
  • Investment in communities and place
  • Levelling Up Fund – delivered through local authorities, specifically targeting projects that seek to improve the infrastructure of local communities. It is specially designed to support investment in the areas where it can make the biggest difference (local authorities listed by priority area).  The MP for each constituency will be asked to support one project as a priority for the area, and local authorities can submit one bid for every constituency MP.  The first round of the Fund will focus on three major themes:
  • Transport investments – including public transport, active travel, bridge repairs, local road improvements, accessibility improvements, and more
  • Regeneration and town centre investment – upgrading eyesore buildings and dated infrastructure, acquiring and regenerating brownfield sites, investing in secure community infrastructure, and more
  • Cultural investment – maintaining, regenerating or repurposing cultural and heritage assets, or creating new community-owned spaces to support the arts and serve as cultural spaces.

All applications must be made through your local authority and the deadline for authorities to submit full applications to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is noon, Friday 18 June. If you are interested in accessing this support, (and for the CRF falls within one of the eligible areas), we urge that you contact your local authority as soon as possible.

  • Community Ownership Fund – Community groups can bid for up to £250,000 in matched funding to help them buy or take over local community assets at risk of being lost, to run as community-owned business. In exceptional cases, up to £1 million in matched funding will be available to help establish a community-owned sports club or help buy a sports ground at risk of being lost without community intervention.  Bidding will be open by June 2021.