A new fund to help support much loved seaside towns create new jobs and prosperity was launched today by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and Chief Secretary Danny Alexander.
The £23.7m Coastal Communities Fund has been created to provide struggling coastal communities all across the country with money to support new opportunities that can make their towns prosper.
Image: Isle of Wight Photo Agency: Shanklin.
Today a variety of organisations are being invited to apply for the funding, first announced by the Chief Secretary, to diversify and transform seaside economies by allowing them to rejuvenate traditional assets or exploit new emerging industries.
Seaside groups could use the money to start programmes that can deliver skills training, offer apprenticeships to school leavers, create new workspaces or support small-scale transport improvements.
Successful applicants can expect to get a grant of between £50,000 and £2million. Mr Pickles said he would especially like to see quality bids come in from social enterprises, charities, local businesses or local enterprise partnerships.
The prospectus setting out eligibility, suggestions of how to use funds and details of how to bid was published today. Applications will be accepted in April.
The prospectus is available at www.communities.gov.uk/publications/regeneration/coastalfundprospectus
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:
“Seaside towns and coastal communities have huge potential for economic growth that we simply can’t afford to waste – this fund can make all the difference to these places we all know and love.
“This is a great opportunity for long overlooked seaside towns, large and small, to grab a chance to grow through imaginative and innovative projects that create skilled workers, and provide year round jobs that build stronger local economies.”
Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, said:
“Having grown up in a coastal community in Scotland, I am only too aware of the vital role these communities play in the UK. It is fair that we share the Crown Estate’s marine revenues equally and I am delighted to launch the Coastal Communities Fund prospectus today.
“We look forward to receiving innovative bids from charities, businesses, social enterprises and local organisations, which support the economic development of the community.”
The Fund will be financed by the Government from revenues from the Crown Estate’s marine assets. The Fund will be UK wide, with funding allocated to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on the basis of revenue generated by these marine assets. The Fund will be delivered by the Big Lottery Fund’s ‘BIG Fund’.
In Communities Secretary Eric Pickles Opinion…
For centuries, seaside towns, cities and villages have played a vital role in national life – defending British borders, putting food on British tables, helping our entrepreneurs trade with the world, and attracting tourists. Ever since the coming of the railways put a break by the beach within the reach of hundreds of thousands of working men and women, coastal communities have also had a special place in people’s affections.
In recent years, however, as we all know, economic and demographic changes have had a big impact. Heavy manufacturing has declined, trade patterns have shifted and foreign holidays have become affordable for many.
Some seaside communities have faced these changes with confidence. They have diversified their local industries, renewed their appeal to tourists, and found a new place in the national economy. Others have found it harder to adapt, harder to keep their economy going – but I think all our seaside communities have the potential to create jobs and growth. I want to help all our coastal communities thrive, and the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund is there to help unlock their potential.
Today we’re publishing a prospectus which describes how the Fund, worth over £20m a year, will work. It’s simple. All we want people to do is demonstrate how a share of the fund could help them create sustainable growth and jobs. They might have a plan to start a training programme to help local people develop skills in burgeoning industries – such as green technology or design. They might want to renovate their unique local heritage, such as beach huts or railings. Or they might want to invest to develop new forms of eco-tourism. For example, you might not want to get out the bucket and spade in February, but you might fancy a spot of birding, providing there’s a hide to shelter you. As long as the bid’s backers can show how the money will help support jobs and growth for the long term, we won’t presume to know better than them what their economy needs.
Councils, charities and companies alike can all apply. So this is the chance for leaders of all kinds to make a difference to their community. This is a time to be ambitious and positive. I’m looking forward to seeing some great ideas which help all our seaside communities become thriving places to live, work and visit.
Each country will have a country specific board who will work with the Big Lottery Fund to deliver the money. The Big Lottery Fund has powers to deliver funding from non-lottery sources for charitable purposes or purposes connected with health, education or the environment.
The Fund will be equal to 50% of the revenues generated by the Crown Estate’s marine assets. Based on the Crown Estate’s Marine revenues in 2010/11 (£47.4m) the overall fund will be worth £23.7m beginning in 2012. Funds can be used to support both capital and revenue projects and communities will be encouraged to match funds with other pots of money.
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