Up to £10.7 million is now available through the European Social Fund (ESF) for the design of new projects addressing some of the major economic and social concerns brought by the impact of Covid-19 in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly.

Calls are being made for new initiatives that will help the recovery of businesses and people of Cornwall, support them in overcoming current challenges and provide pathways to specialist support, training and employment.

This latest tranche of ESF funding will focus on supporting new projects in four key priority areas to assist the region’s recovery from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

£3.7 million is aimed at improving the economy by calling on a number of projects that will support business and sustainable growth. The investment is set to support economic and social recovery by engaging locally with two-hundred businesses and develop the skills of a thousand individuals.

£3 million is directed towards projects that will help over 1,900 people who are unemployed and/or inactive engage in activities that will bring them closer to the workplace and employment.

£2 million will be dedicated to projects focusing on helping over a thousand young people aged 15 to 24, particularly the most vulnerable and those at risk of exclusion, progress into the workplace or further education.

£2 million will support a collaborative and county wide initiative aimed at supporting those most disadvantaged facing barriers, such as poverty, exclusion and violence, that prevent them accessing education, training or employment.

Tim Dwelly, Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for culture, economy and planning, said: “This new funding announcement is a timely opportunity for ambitious and targeted new projects to be developed that will support the social and economic recovery of our region from the coronavirus pandemic.

“The £10.7 million funding that Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is receiving from ESF though the CIOS Growth Programme aims to support over 6,000 residents gaining new skills, accessing training and education to progress into employment and get better paid jobs. This funding can make a significant difference to members of our community and help them overcome barriers that currently prevent them to actively contribute to our economy. It will further the Council’s ambition of inclusion and fairness of opportunity for everyone.”

Mark Duddridge, chair of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, added: “Our economy and community have been significantly hit by coronavirus. With growing concerns regarding the rise of universal credit recipients, the need for new skills in specialist sectors and the increasing risk of further exclusion of the most vulnerable, this latest tranche of European Social Fund investment is going to be instrumental in funding projects offering a lifeline to those most at risk of unemployment and exclusion, while supporting our business community.”

Through the CIoS Growth Programme technical assistance EU funded project, organisations interested in applying for ESF funding can access free specialist support from the Access to the Programme Team. A dedicated team from Cornwall Development Company specifically tasked with supporting interested applicants and helping them develop robust applications, also offering a partnership brokering service. Throughout September, the Access to the Programme team is running online one to one support sessions as well as workshops for organisations looking to apply for the current ESF funding calls. More information can be found on the Growth Programme website here.

The earliest deadline for submission will be on October 13. Under the Withdrawal Agreement, successful projects will be able to deliver their activities up until 2023, enabling a lasting impact of the investment across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. For more information on each funding and calls’ specifications, click here.

This funding forms part of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Programme (CIoS Growth Programme), the regeneration programme for the region.

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