UK Government has confirmed which projects have been approved to receive funding from the new Community Renewal Fund in Bridgend County Borough.
Set up as a precursor to the Shared Prosperity Fund which will be launched next year as a replacement for EU structural grant funding, the £220m national scheme is designed to support people and communities across the UK who are most in need.
With a total of £46m allocated to projects across Wales, Bridgend County Borough will receive £785,149 for the following initiatives:
Enterprise Bridgend (£213,126)
Enterprise Bridgend aims to support people, especially women, who have been furloughed during the pandemic or who may be unemployed / economically inactive by helping them develop skills and confidence for moving into self-employment.
The Life You Want (£200,294)
With a strong emphasis on ‘it’s never too late to learn something new’, this project will develop a one-stop online portal for supporting people who want to develop and improve their skills or undertake new training in order to gain new work and improve their lives.
Transforming Young Minds for Tomorrow (£86,876)
Designed to encourage more pupils to consider careers in manufacturing and engineering, this project is aimed at pupils in both primary and secondary schools and will pilot a collaborative approach to develop a micro-manufacturing centre and more.
Bridgend Elevate and Prosper (£120,000)
A programme of business support which aims to deliver popup initiatives, create opportunities for start-ups and micro-business growth, encourage greater footfall and more.
Women’s focussed Incubator for Ambitious Entrepreneurs (£92,750)
A three-month business incubator programme for female entrepreneurs which will use blended online learning across 12 growth-focused modules to develop a trusted business network.
Connecting Teachers with Industry (£56,708)
Designed to inform teachers so they can encourage and share details about the creative, digital, environment and advanced materials and manufacturing sectors, this programme of events seeks to enthuse primary school pupils while focusing on potential career opportunities at secondary level.
Bridgend County Borough will also benefit from a further bid submitted by Torfaen Council on behalf of the 10 local authorities working together through the Cardiff Capital Region – a Connect, Engage, Listen, Transform (CELT) project designed to add further value to the council’s existing Employability Bridgend programme.
However, an application for a practical work experience and skill-building programme aimed at 16-25 year olds who are not currently in education, employment or full-time training was not successful.
These are all very worth-while projects that will have a positive impact upon the lives of local people, and it is great to see this funding being allocated to the area.
However, it remains a matter of serious concern that Bridgend County Borough has not been included within the top 100 priority places marked for support through the forthcoming Shared Prosperity Fund. Bridgend County Borough has been officially recognised as having some of the poorest communities in Wales, and I again call upon UK Government to reconsider its decision.
I also think it is important to note that while £46m has been allocated to Wales in total through the Community Renewal Fund, the country received around £375m under the former EU structural funding scheme, so I sincerely hope that this is not a sign that Wales will be short-changed when the full scheme is launched in 2022.
Council Leader Huw David