The UK Community Renewal Fund has been established to help local areas prepare for the launch of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) – the replacement for EU Structural Funds – which launches in 2022.
The Fund is designed to support people and communities most in need across the UK, creating opportunities to trial new approaches and innovative ideas at the local level, and preparing them to take full advantage of the UKSPF from next year.
The Government recognises that each area has unique challenges requiring unique solutions, therefore, local areas will be empowered to explore how best to tackle local challenges – whether through building skills, supporting local businesses, supporting communities and places, or providing employment support.
The Fund has an overall budget of £220 million. In Great Britain, a maximum of £3 million worth of bids can be submitted per area, by a designated lead authority. In Northern Ireland, direct bids can be made, of any value up to the total allocation of £11 million.
A range of projects by theme and size will be supported, however, project applicants are encouraged to maximise impact and deliverability through larger projects (£500,000+) where this is possible. Smaller projects will still be considered and there is no minimum threshold.
Bids that are either wholly or predominantly revenue based are encouraged, as 90% of funding available through the Fund is revenue funding, with a small amount of capital funding. Prospective applicants should calibrate their bids accordingly.
Any legally constituted organisation delivering an appropriate service in the UK may apply. This includes local councils, charities, voluntary and community sector organisations, local education providers, including universities, and umbrella business groups.
Private sector organisations and registered charities may prepare bids where they are providing a service to benefit other organisations or individuals. They will not receive funding if the intention of the project is to further their own business/organisation, eg through the purchase of equipment or offsetting additional staffing or other costs.
In Great Britain, applications should be submitted to an assigned lead authority. These are:
Mayoral Combined Authorities, where they exist in England.
The Greater London Authority.
Unitary authorities elsewhere in England and in Scotland and Wales.
Lead authorities will appraise proposals and produce a shortlist of projects for submission to the UK Government. The UK Government will then select projects to be funded.
In Northern Ireland, there is a different approach, whereby project applicants will make direct applications to the UK Government.
Nominated lead authorities across Great Britain are inviting applications from local organisations. Deadlines vary according to each area, with some authorities requiring bid submissions by early to mid-May 2021.
Applications from those based in Northern Ireland should be submitted directly to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government by Friday 18 June 2021.