A new funding opportunity is open for applications from organisations across Stoke-on-Trent.

The fund, which totals £3 million, aims to support people, businesses and communities most in need across the UK to pilot programmes and new approaches to prepare for the future UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The Community Renewal Fund invests in skills, community and place, local business, and supporting people into employment. All successful projects must however be delivered by March 31 2022. Nationally £220million is available.

Pre-pandemic, the city was outperforming much of the UK in terms of economic growth and job creation. Through the new fund, it is hoped that areas affected through the pandemic can quickly return to a positive economic position.

Earlier this year, the ‘Powering Up Stoke-on-Trent’ Prospectus was launched, mapping out the key issues that the city needs to address to accelerate the economy and the ambitions and needs of our communities.

The aim is to ensure that communities across the city were able to benefit from new economic opportunities created through the pandemic with a particular focus on better skills in business start-up and growth, in supporting people into work and in strengthening local infrastructure.

Cllr Abi Brown, leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council said: “The Community Renewal Fund is one of the first Government initiatives to be rolled out under their Levelling Up agenda and as a city we want to take every advantage that this fund has to offer. There are Government guidelines which identify the types of projects that the Community Renewal Fund can support. There is a limited amount of funding available so it is vital that applications focus on what is important to us locally. The first step is to engage with organisations across the city to identify the best ideas and programmes we should be supporting through the fund.

“We’ve put together a Stoke-on-Trent Community renewal Fund prospectus which outlines the key areas for investment within the city and where applications are particularly encouraged. We’ve also got a dedicated enquiry email so that any queries can be dealt with quickly. I am looking forward to receiving ambitious proposals that serve the city well, address our needs, and assist us in a speedy return to a path of strong growth, health and prosperity.”

Organisations wishing to deliver activity as part of the fund can find out more by visiting www.stoke.gov.uk/communityrenewalfund where you can read the prospectus in full. Alternatively, any queries can be directed to the dedicated email query line communityrenewalfund@stoke.gov.uk. This will allow any technical queries about the funding process to be answered.

Bids are welcomed from a range of applicants including but not limited to, colleges, universities, independent training providers, voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations and umbrella business groups.

Government guidance encourages bids of £500,000 and above wherever this is possible, however the city council will consider strong applications of a lesser value.

The closing date for bids is 24 May 2021 with all bids to be submitted to communityrenewalfund@stoke.gov.uk by midnight on that date.

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