£200 million boost to help level up communities across the UK

Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove. Photo credit: UK Gov screengrab

Skills training for the unemployed and investment in businesses developing low carbon technology are among around 500 projects set to benefit from a £200 million boost for local economies, Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove announced today (3 November 2021).

The government is backing 477 locally-led, innovative projects that will help breathe new life into towns, villages and coastal communities across the UK as the government delivers on its mission to level up the nation and commitment to net zero.

It is the latest significant tranche of funding for Levelling Up following last week’s Budget which saw £1.7 billion from the first round of the UK-wide Levelling Up Fund backing 105 projects, and the first 21 projects benefitting from the £150 million Community Ownership Fund.

Many of today’s successful projects are also supporting the UK’s path to net zero carbon emissions. For example, a £434,000 contribution has been awarded to support the seafood industry in Grimsby to modernise, with funding helping the sector reduce its carbon footprint by improving the energy efficiency of its cold storage and transport fleet.

Secretary of State for Levelling Up Michael Gove said:

We are levelling up in every corner of the United Kingdom, backing locally-led projects that will make a real difference to communities and help to deliver our net zero commitments.

There is incredible talent spread right across our great country and this investment will unlock the opportunities to match.

Projects being funded through the Community Renewal Fund include:

  • £1 million to train people in retrofit and modern construction skills in Devon, helping people secure jobs and ensuring local businesses have the skills they need.
  • £400,000 will create a ‘Seaweed Academy’ in Argyll and Bute, providing training and education in seaweed farming. This money will help supercharge regional growth in an industry which has a crucial role to play in the UK’s net zero ambitions.
  • £200,000 to support unemployed and disadvantaged people in Carmarthenshire to start their own business by investing in digital and entrepreneurial skills. The programme will also fund a bootcamp for female entrepreneurs, creating a networking group for women in business.
  • £73,000 to support people with conditions such as Tourette’s, OCD, ADHD and Dyslexia in Antrim and Newtownabbey into employment and prepare for the world of work.
  • £187,000 to support the development of electric vehicle charging across whole of the Scottish Borders to benefit residents, the public sector and businesses and ensure maximisation of commercial opportunities and reduction in carbon footprint.
  • £480,000 to support local businesses in Blackburn and Darwen to adopt low carbon production technologies, bring low carbon products to market, source low carbon components, reduce energy consumption and become low carbon technology installers. The funding will develop a low carbon skills academy to identify the skills necessary for low carbon sector and design low carbon training programmes.
  • £218,000 will fund an employment and wellbeing programme for people living in housing associations in the Scottish Borders. The programme will deliver digital skills, financial literacy, and promote good mental health.
  • £808,000 will help create 40 online training centres for people who don’t have access to the internet in the North East to improve digital skills and open up digital employment opportunities.
  • £120,000 to support young people not in education, employment, or training, adults struggling with their mental health and people who have left the Armed Forces in York to build confidence and transferable skills through archaeological excavations.
  • £426,000 will help small businesses in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon innovate and reduce their carbon footprint.  

The government say today’s UK Community Renewal Fund will pilot imaginative new programmes to boost productivity and grow local economies.

They say the Levelling Up Fund will invest in infrastructure to support economic recovery, while the Community Ownership Fund empowers communities to take ownership of treasured assets such as local pubs, post offices and football stadiums at risk of closure.

Together, the three funds will level up left-behind areas and unleash the potential of people and places right across the country.

The £200 million funding through the UK Community Renewal Fund will also help local areas prepare for the launch of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in 2022, the scheme that will see UK-wide funding at least match EU money, reaching around £1.5 billion a year.

See the full list of successful bids.


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