Multi-million-pounds investment in businesses and skills

Posted on: Wednesday 10 November 2021

Five new projects aimed at supporting businesses and increasing skills in Torfaen are to receive nearly £1.3m from a new UK Government fund.

Torfaen Council invited local organisations to bid for a share of the UK Community Renewal Fund, which is a pilot for the UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund to replace previous EU funding structures from next year 

As well as the five projects, two regional schemes led by Torfaen Council will receive around £2.5m. The successful initiatives are:

Connect, Engage, Listen and Transform: £1,909,978

The CELT research project will trial new techniques and interventions to support the long-term unemployed into work across 10 local authorities in South Wales. The findings will inform future bids for the UK Government's new Shared Prosperity Fund and other grant funding for employability programmes. 

Food 4 Growth: £609,084

This project will focus on connecting rural agricultural industries with town centres in Torfaen, Caerphilly and Monmouthshire. It will include a feasibility study to explore community renewables, fuel bulk buying, diversification; local food promotion and a rural innovation support programme.

Stepping Stones: £331,410

This is an entrepreneurship programme aimed at supporting the over 50s, who are unemployed, to start their own businesses. 

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.

The Life You Want: £200,294

An employability and confidence programme specifically targeting domestic abuse victims. Qualifications will be supported through digital or classroom-based learning. 

Young Enterprise Torfaen: £228,126

This project will support young people into self-employment by helping them to develop skills, such as digital and entrepreneurial expertises, and confidence.

A Complete Digital Package for Torfaen Businesses: £378,000

Businesses in Torfaen who do not have an online presence will be offered support through the development of an app and bespoke websites.

Councillor Joanne Gauden, Torfaen Council's Executive Member for Economy, Skills and Regeneration, said: "It's great to see the range of different projects to have successfully bid for UK Government funding.  

"The focus of the fund is very much in line with Torfaen Council's priorities for prosperous, resilient economy that offers high-skilled employment opportunities and supports those who are unemployed into work."

Jonathan Hale, Torfaen Council's skills and employability manager, who is part of the CELT project, added: "CELT will trial new ways of reaching out to and supporting people with barriers to employment across the whole of South East Wales.

"Over the next eight months we will seek to identify the most effective interventions from current and past delivery to inform future delivery and ensure services are tailored to the needs of our residents and the local economy."

For more information about the Community Renewal Fund visit

Last Modified: 10/11/2021 Back to top