UK Community Renewal Fund

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Introduction

Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council is seeking bids from organisations wishing to deliver activity as part of the UK Community Renewal Fund.

Please read the UK Community Renewal Fund Prospectus and the UK Community Fund Technical Note for Project Applicants and Deliverers before registering an interest or starting work on a bid. The Prospectus and Technical Notes are available here.

The Prospectus provides detailed information on the objectives of the Fund, the types of projects it intends to support and how it operates, including the process and selection criteria used to assess bids.

Successful UK Community Renewal Fund bids will be for 2021/22 only and activity must end in March 2022. In reality, it is likely that delivery activity will need to be completed within a 7-month timeframe.

Background

To help local areas prepare for the introduction of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, the UK Government is providing funding in 2021/22 through the UK Community Renewal Fund.

In Blackburn with Darwen, we are interested in developing proposals that build on local insight and knowledge, and projects that align with long-term strategic plans for local growth, target people most in need and support community renewal. In addition, projects should show how they complement other national, regional and local provision.

A focus for this Fund is to support innovation and new ideas in these areas, investing in pilots that draw on local insights and which will help places to prepare for the introduction of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in 2022.

The Council is recognised as a lead authority by the UK Government and is responsible for:

  • issuing this invitation;
  • receiving bids;
  • assessing and selecting the bids that will be sent to UK Government for consideration; and
  • paying grants to successful projects and managing their performance.

The role of lead authorities is set out in detail in the Government’s Prospectus.

Focus of bid proposals

Projects must deliver activity that is line with the UK Community Renewal Fund Prospectus and align with at least one of the following investment priorities:

  • Investment in skills
  • Investment for local business
  • Investment in communities and place
  • Supporting people into employment

The UK Government anticipates supporting a range of projects by theme and size, but applicants are encouraged to maximise impact and deliverability through larger projects (£500,000+) where this is possible.

As 90% of funding available through the UK Community Renewal Fund is revenue funding and only available in 2021/22, projects should be predominantly, or exclusively revenue based.

Projects that focus predominantly on the construction or major refurbishment of buildings, the purchase of land or the purchase of large pieces of equipment will not be supported.

Local priorities

In selecting proposals to be submitted to Government, the Council will prioritise bids that have the greatest potential to deliver new and inclusive growth opportunities for the Borough’s residents and businesses, and evidence strong alignment and impact against the overall objectives of the UK Community Renewal Fund.

The Council is also open to considering proposals that link with wider economic opportunities beyond Blackburn with Darwen to test, strengthen and/or scale up the delivery of local outcomes, consistent with the Government’s Prospectus.

Assessment of bid proposals

As the lead authority, the Council will assess all bids submitted using the following framework:

  • The gateway criteria set out in the UK Community Renewal Fund Prospectus – bids that fail to meet these criteria are ineligible support and will be rejected;
  • The extent to which they meet the objectives of the UK Community Renewal Fund; and
  • The extent to which bids would support the delivery of new and inclusive local growth outcomes; test and develop new approaches to capturing new growth opportunities; and contribute to local strategic objectives.

Following assessment, the Council will submit those eligible bids that most strongly meet the UK Community Renewal Fund and local priorities to Government for consideration. Cumulatively, the amount of funding applied for by the Council cannot exceed £3m.

The Government will assess the bids submitted by the Council against the criteria set out in the UK Community Renewal Fund Prospectus.

The UK Government will announce the outcome of the assessment process from late July 2021 onwards.

The Council will enter into a funding agreement with successful bidders, and will be responsible for paying grants to successful projects and managing their performance.

Registering an expression of interest

During the application process (details below), and in order for the Council to gauge likely demand against the priorities identified, potential applications are asked to register an Expression of Interest.

Please email businessgrowth@blackburn.gov.uk by 5pm Friday 16th April 2021, providing headline details of the proposed Bid. This should include a project summary with details of which investment priority/priorities the proposed activity would address (investment in skills; investment for local businesses; investment in communities and place; supporting people into employment), and an estimate of the amount of funding sought.

Submitting a full bid

Bids must be submitted using the UK Community Renewal Fund Application Form, which is available here. Bids submitted in any other format will not be accepted.

Completed bids must be submitted to the Council by email to businessgrowth@blackburn.gov.uk, and by no later than 5pm Friday 14th May 2021.