Community Renewal Fund
The UK Government’s Community Renewal Fund was a forerunner to the Shared Prosperity Fund, which will replace EU funds.
Torfaen Council received applications from seven projects, focused on delivering training and upskilling pilots across Torfaen and the region by June 2022.
These were put forward to the UK Government and all seven projects were successful, giving Torfaen the largest CRF programme allocation in Wales.
The Shared Prosperity Fund is expected to be launched in spring 2022. Further details will be publicised by the Council’s External Funding Team.
Connect, Engage, Listen and Transform: £1,909,978
The CELT research project aims to trial new techniques and interventions to support the long-term unemployed into work across 10 local authorities in South Wales.
The project has created a new skills and employability pod at Cwmbran Library, which offers a drop-in service for residents who need support finding work or improving their qualifications. The advisors can also help people with their finances and wellbeing.
A skills and employability van has also been commissioned to take advisors into communities in Torfaen and Monmouthshire to reach those most in need.
Food 4 Growth: £609,084
Food4Growth is a cooperation project between Torfaen, Caerphilly and Monmouthshire councils and aims to find new ways to help develop food supply chains and create a whole system approach.
The project’s Rural Business Scheme aims to support 12 rural businesses to add value to their produce, such as diversifying or looking at new processes like vertical growing and pick your own schemes.
The Community Food Scheme aims to tackle food poverty. It has provided grants to nine third sector organisations, community groups or public sector services to help create sustainable solutions. Projects have included community growing, cooking on a budget and developing one to one counselling support to encourage links to existing welfare services.
One example is local food share scheme Tasty Not Wasty, in Cwmbran, which received funding to develop a community café. The café serves hot meals from surplus food, providing healthy eating options on a pay-as-you-feel basis. Volunteers are given training in food preparation and the café offers the additional benefits of reducing the stigma of food poverty and social isolation and enhancing wellbeing.
A Complete Digital Package for Torfaen Businesses: £378,000
Uddr received UK Community Renewal Funding to help 200 Torfaen businesses build their digital footprint.
The project offers companies the chance to benefit from a fully-funded website for 12 months and a year-long subscription to the Uddr app, which promotes local businesses, trades and services.
JEMS Window Cleaning, based in Pontypool, saw a £1,500 increase in revenue in first two months after its website was created at the end of January. The company has seen a 500% increase in website traffic and an increase in social media reach and engagement.
Owner Jacob Soper said: “Our business has been transformed by this funding. We are now able to reach a much wider audience and promote our business in a more professional manner through the website that Uddr produced for us. The process was simple from start to finish and as a result our business is projected to perform higher than ever expected in the next financial year.”
Stepping Stones: £331,410
The project is aimed at the over 50s who want to learn new skills or develop a new interest.
It features 12 workshops that cover areas including growing your own produce in an allotment, jewellery making, ceramics, cake decorating, growing your own produce in an allotment, and the repair shop, which is geared towards upcycling and DIY services.
16 people will then get the change to turn their passion into a business with the support of a business grant.
Lisa Floyd, workshop consultant, said: “Just a few weeks into the sessions and everyone’s confidence increased and after learning the basics, individual designs have emerged and continue to develop. One learner has even put their existing skills to good use, creating their own wirework tools.”
Young Enterprise Torfaen: £228,126
Business in Focus’ Focus Futures initiative aims to support young people, aged between 16 and 24, overcome barriers to employment and develop the confidence and skills they need to reach their potential.
It will provide guidance to people looking to start their own business, help them access financial support and provide training and 1-2-1 guidance.
The pilot will also support independent businesses who have faced challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, and new businesses.
The project is also offering £20,000 worth of prizes through the Green Goal Award. Applications are invited from businesses and individuals who want to start or improve their business building in some green steps. Winners can receive up to £5,000 worth of financial support.
The Life You Want: £200,294
The charity Threshold DAS is offering anyone over the age of 16 the chance to study for a range of work-related and personal and social qualifications.
The money from the Community Renewal Fund will cover the cost of 150 qualifications, plus 30 places for young people, aged between 16-25, to learn life skills.
There are more than 25 Level One courses on offer including administration, marketing and IT, mindfulness, health lifestyles and personal money management.
Learners can complete the courses online, via virtual sessions or face-to-face in a classroom.
Although the charity works with victims of domestic abuse, anyone can take part.
Tania Perkins, head of The Life You Want project, said: “We offer a road into training that brings people from different walks of life, and all ages, together in their local area. Community learning plays an important part in supporting wider initiatives that allow many more opportunities for people.”
Pontypool and Blaenavon Small Business Support Project: £151,465
Promoting start-ups ups and business-to-business purchasing in Pontypool and Blaenavon will be one of the focuses of this project.
It will also develop a skills swap platform to support new businesses, trial opportunities for short-term premises and work with landlords to bring empty buildings back into use.
One of those helped by the project is James Austin, from New Inn, who has set up a barber shop in Pontypool town centre.
He has been given financial support towards the cost of rent and utilities for the first six months.
He opened the door to Austin & Co on his 25th birthday in March and is keen to support other prospective businesses.
Last Modified: 25/04/2022
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