Council seeks to empower communities through government funding bid

28 June 2021

Using virtual reality to inspire job seekers, supporting business to adapt to green technologies and providing targeting re-training opportunities for those over 50 affected by the COVID 19 pandemic.

These are just some of the ambitious projects that Cheshire West and Chester Council are hoping will help communities across the borough if they get the green light for government funding. 

The recently announced Community Renewal Fund (CRF) is part of the national recovery programme following the Covid pandemic. The £220m national funding pot aims to support grassroots projects that will make specific areas more sustainable.

In April, Council officers staged a webinar to explain the CRF and invited bids from local stakeholders. Officers received applications totalling more than £9m. Following a selection process, the successful bids have now been formally submitted for consideration by the government. 

They include Place Based Race 2 Zero, which is a project to future proof three employment sites in Cheshire West and Chester. It will provide 'green' business advice, facilitate 10 low carbon internships for unemployed residents plus an offer of low carbon grants to businesses. 

The other submitted projects include support for training opportunities, business recovery training support, a pop-up community café offering training and work placements plus a feasibility study, bringing together local economic plans for Ellesmere Port and Neston. 

Councillor Richard Beacham, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Growth, Economy and Regeneration said: "If successful, this funding bid will create jobs, provide employment support for residents, deliver skills and training opportunities for local employers, provide new services for local businesses and support local communities in Ellesmere Port and Neston to improve their town.

"Our borough isn't on the Governments list of priority places for this fund, so the bids we have submitted had to score higher at appraisal on a set of national assessment criteria. We have submitted five projects totalling just under £3 million for consideration and are really proud of how local organisations have worked with the Council to develop them. This is an outstanding set of proposals that will deliver real change for communities in every corner of our west Cheshire. I look forward to finding out if we have been successful later in the summer."

Project submissions were made to The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government with national decisions being made at the end of July and all project activity delivered by March 2022.

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