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£1.59m funding boost for local projects

Published Friday 5 November, 2021
Last updated on Friday 5 November, 2021

Schemes supporting local unemployed people back to work and providing specialist training for local small businesses are among the five projects in Swale that will be sharing more than £1.5 million of funding.

The Government announced five local projects are among only 10 in Kent to receive funding from the Community Renewal Fund this week. This funding will support the economic and community recovery from the pandemic through pilot schemes, which will run until mid-2022.

Swale’s priorities were agreed earlier in the year by a panel including the leader of Swale Borough Council, Cllr Roger Truelove, local MPs, Gordon Henderson and Helen Whately and local businessman and Chair of the Kent and Medway Skills Commission, Paul Winter.

Cllr Truelove said:

“We put great emphasis on skills and employment, and this obviously fitted the Government agenda.

“I am delighted with the outcome which will make a real difference in Swale. I would like to thank our MPs for their involvement and support.”

Bridge the Gap is a project run by training charity CXK which will receive £168,000 to deliver a programme of support to bring unemployed, and economically inactive, individuals back to the labour market. This will use a range of activities to engage with local people to help them develop work skills, increase their motivation, and support them both into work and once in employment.

Diversity House is receiving £424,000 to deliver an intervention service to support disadvantaged and marginalised local people with complex needs back into employment. This will focus on the life and social skills of people and seek to improve their employability whilst supporting their mental health and wellbeing to help them sustain employment.

NIAB EMR will deliver a project called Growing Green which will use £308,000 to upskill and enable micro- and small and medium sized local businesses to innovate and respond to net-zero agenda. These businesses don’t normally access support available but will be able to take advantage of specialist training packages, business-focussed diagnostics to identify new processes and technologies, and demonstrations to help see the benefits of adopting a net-zero approach.

The Kent and Medway Partnership for Food, Enterprise and Health will receive £180,000 to strengthen local capacity to grow, process and use healthy food. This will include a community facility, where local communities learn the value of nutritious food, a business support facility, including a mentoring programme and an ‘Impact Investment Fund’, supporting investment in zero carbon and sustainable technologies.

East Kent College Group will receive £509,000 to deliver the Swale and Ashford Skills Renewal project to help local people develop life skills, raise self-esteem, and remove barriers to progression. They will also provide digital devices and connectivity where IT is a barrier a barrier. A skills programme will be delivered for the existing workforce, linked to economic recovery needs.  They will also carry out research into the post-pandemic skills gaps and create a bespoke action plan.

The UK Community Renewal Fund is targeted at supporting pilot schemes, which will run until mid-2022. It is hoped longer-term funding for projects will be made available from 2022 onwards through the Governments UK Shared Prosperity Fund, details of which are yet to be announced.