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£3.4 million Government funding coming to region to boost skills and economic growth after successful bid


£3.4 million Government funding coming to region to boost skills and economic growth after successful bid

£3.4 million in funding for schemes benefitting Peterborough, Fenland and Huntingdonshire aimed at boosting skills, entrepreneurship and economic recovery has been secured by the Combined Authority.

The Government’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities announced yesterday which bids to its Community Renewal Fund (CRF) had been successful.

The Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority led the region’s application to the CRF, aimed at helping regions to prepare for the Shared Prosperity Fund coming in 2022.

The CRF is focussed on regenerating communities and enabling more people to benefit from economic growth through investment in skills, enterprise and employment. Peterborough and Fenland were among the Government’s priority places for investment, and bids per place were limited to £3 million in total. The Combined Authority put in bids equivalent to £3 million for both Fenland and Peterborough to maximise the potential funding coming to the region.

The Combined Authority has a responsibility for supporting business and improving skills across the region, including a focus on areas which are most in need of investment.

The CRF is aimed at short term economic recovery projects and so are particularly relevant to the Combined Authority’s and Business Board’s work on Covid-19 recovery. The schemes are planned to be completed by June 30, 2022.

The two Combined Authority bids funded by Government are:

1) £2,529,600 for Start and Grow, an initiative to help people start and grow businesses, and delivered through the Combined Authority and its partners.

This will be delivered across Peterborough, Fenland and Huntingdonshire, providing entrepreneurs with pre-start and growth support for early stage and micro businesses. It will equip new and existing enterprises with the business skills they need for sustainable growth, safeguarding 32 jobs and creating a further 103. The project is also supported and in partnership with Peterborough City Council and Fenland and Huntingdonshire District Councils.

The ‘Start’ component will focus on disadvantaged individuals and under-represented groups. The ‘Grow’ component will support existing businesses up to three years old or with fewer than three employees. Start and Grow will bring 224 individuals and 293 early-stage and micro businesses through an intensive enterprise programme.

2) £864,251 for Turning Point, a scheme to help more unemployed people into work, delivered by the Combined Authority and its partners.

It will offer four key activities:

  • Personal Skills Analysis to guide individuals in understanding and identifying opportunities increasing their skills or retraining. This will involve working directly with individuals to identify opportunities to transition back into work following a period of furlough; into new roles with their existing skills, or to identify training that will support them in transitioning to a new role.
  • Providing access to free short course training not currently funded via other means to enable new skills and promote development of digital, net-zero, and management and leadership skills. Work re-entry workshops will support a transition back to work from furlough.
  • Delivering real-world experiences of work through funded internships. Funding of £5,000 per internship will be provided to employers to provide new work opportunities.
  • Training Needs Analysis to identify re-skilling, up-skilling and re-training opportunities within a business. This will include working with businesses to identify skills development opportunities for businesses that have furloughed staff, and businesses looking to develop or expand into key areas such as net-zero or digital by training their current staff.

Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Dr Nik Johnson, said:

“Peterborough and Fenland were rightly identified by Government as priority areas for investment, and so it is important that the Combined Authority has been able to secure £3.4 million of CRF funding for those places.

“Covid-19 has been a major shock for our region, and its impact has been especially acute in places with lower wages and lower levels of skills compared with national averages. As well as the clear health impacts, the effect of on jobs and businesses has been significant. Peterborough and Fenland have been among the hardest hit.

“One of our key roles as a Combined Authority is to identify opportunities to bring new money to the area. I’m pleased we have been able to make our case to Government because in the wake of Covid-19 every investment counts. These two initiatives are designed to make a real impact for people and businesses in quick time.”

Austen Adams, chair of the Combined Authority Business Board said:

“This is welcome news and a much-needed boost to the Business Board’s efforts to support businesses and jobs as we recover from Covid-19.

“Our Growth Works service launched earlier this year and has already made a rapid impact on supporting enterprise, skills and jobs. I’m confident the Growth Works team can seize the opportunity of this funding and deliver the maximum impact for the economy, businesses and people.”