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Recipients of Stoke-on-Trent Community Renewal Fund announced

Published: Thursday, 3rd March 2022

Organisations who were successful in applying for £2.6m of government funding gathered to celebrate the launch the Stoke-on-Trent Community Renewal Fund.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Community Renewal Fund will invest in skills, community and place, local business and supporting people into employment within the local area and projects have until June 2022 to deliver their outcomes.

The successful projects which make up the programme are:

Discover: Boosting Digital Inclusion in Stoke-on-Trent - a partnership led by Staffordshire University who will provide equipment and training to help address digital exclusion and access to digital services across Stoke-on-Trent. 

Stoke-on-Trent Digital Innovation and Education Hub -a partnership led by Wavemaker to create a Hub that will promote research, development and innovation investment in the region and provide residents with the skills to participate more fully in a digitised economy. 

Youth, Employment and Skills (YES) Consortium - a partnership led by YMCA North Staffordshire to offer innovative and creative ways to break down barriers to learning and employment so that young people, aged 16-24, are positively engaged and supported into training and work.

Sector Hub Action Research Project (SHARP), led by Acacia Training - a project that contributes to levelling up through skills, infrastructure and innovation. This pilot will inform how providers can work collaboratively to address skills shortages in the adult, child and domiciliary care sector.

Support to Work, led by Disability Solutions West Midlands - a project that will work with local businesses to advocate for employment of people with disabilities, negotiate work placement opportunities for project beneficiaries and support employers to become Disability Confident Employers.   

SWITCH, led by WISEAbility - an intervention providing economically inactive and unemployed individuals with a short, focused programme of mentoring and positive support to help them on their journey towards employment.

Cllr Abi Brown, leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council said:

“The Community Renewal Fund offers an amazing opportunity for residents to benefit from innovative schemes to help them access work and training opportunities as well as address issues such as digital exclusion. We were delighted to receive £2.6m in funding and that the majority of this is going to Stoke-on-Trent groups and organisations who will lead the projects. It’s been great to speak to representatives from YMCA, Wavemaker, WiseAbility, Disability Solutions, Staffordshire University and Acacia Training about their respective schemes and their progress so far.

“The Community Renewal Fund is an integral part of the Levelling Up agenda, and we as a city want to take every opportunity the initiative offers. I’d encourage residents to take a look at the schemes available, and get in touch with the groups.”

Alex Rowley, Director and Chief Technical Officer at Wavemaker Stoke said:

“The Community Renewal Fund offers a fantastic opportunity to enable us to continue to promote and improve digital inclusion across the region. The Digital Innovation and Education Hub is a collaboration between Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Staffordshire University, Framescape, My Health Kit and other organisations to improve key outcomes, health and lifestyle through the use of technology.”

The scheme was one of the first initiatives to be rolled out under the UK Government’s Levelling Up Agenda and Stoke-on-Trent was identified as one of 100 priority places which were invited to apply for the fund last year.

Pre-pandemic, the city was outperforming much of the UK in terms of economic growth and job creation and through the new UK Community Renewal Fund, it is hoped that areas affected by the pandemic can quickly return to a positive economic position.