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Community Renewal Fund

The UK Community Renewal Fund (CRF) is a UK Government programme for 2021/22. The CRF is aimed at helping local areas prepare for the introduction of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which will replace EU Structural Funding from April 2022.

The UK Government is particularly interested in bids that build on local insight and knowledge, align with long-term strategic plans for local growth, target people most in need, support community renewal, and demonstrate a contribution to national net zero and carbon reduction ambitions. In effect, it invests in skills, community and place, local business, and supporting people into employment

The Government is also keen that this Fund is used to support innovation and new ideas.

The Community Renewal Fund has four national investment priorities:

  • Skills: including work-based training, retraining and digital skills/inclusion
  • Local business: including supporting entrepreneurs, innovation, and decarbonisation
  • Communities and Place: including feasibility studies for net zero projects, opportunities for culture-led regeneration, green spaces, and rural connectivity.
  • Supporting people into employment: including addressing barriers to employment, raising aspirations, and basic skills.

As part of the process to compete for these funds the UK Government has identified Perth &Kinross Council as the Lead Authority locally. As such the Council has the responsibility for inviting, assessing, prioritising, and submitting bids to government of up to £3 million for the Perth and Kinross area.

Perth & Kinross Council Role (Lead Authority)

Perth and Kinross Council has been designated as a lead authority by the UK Government. As a lead authority, the Council is responsible for:

  • issuing this invitation
  • receiving bids
  • selecting the bids that will be sent to UK Government for consideration
  • paying grants to successful projects and managing their performance

Full details of the role of lead authorities can be found in the UK Community Renewal Fund Prospectus.

Application process and eligibility

The application process for organisations in Perth and Kinross wishing to bid for support from the UK Community Renewal Fund (CRF) is as follows:

Perth & Kinross Council is seeking bids from organisations wishing to deliver activity as part of the UK CRF.

Please read the UK Community Renewal Fund Prospectus and the UK Community Fund Technical Note for Project Applicants and Deliverers before starting work on a bid.  These are both available within the prospectus documents.

The Prospectus provides detailed information on the objectives of the Fund, the types of projects it intends to support and how it operates, including the process and selection criteria that will be used to assess bids.

Successful UK Community Renewal Fund bids will be for 2021/22 only and activity must end in March 2022.

In Perth and Kinross, we are interested in bids that build on local insight and knowledge, and project proposals that align with long-term strategic plans for local growth, target people most in need and support community renewal. In addition, projects should show how they complement other national and local provision. The funding will focus on the types of projects which may have previously secured European Structural funding such as the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF). The focus for the CRF is to support innovation and new ideas in these areas, investing in pilots that draw on local insights and which will help places to prepare for the introduction of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in 2022.

Eligible organisations

Any legally constituted organisation can bid for funding from the Community Renewal Fund. However, bids from private sector organisations and registered charities will only be considered where they are for projects providing a service to benefit other organisations or individuals. The Community Renewal Fund will not provide funding to individuals to deliver projects.

Projects must deliver activity that is line with the UK Community Renewal Fund Prospectus and aligns with at least one of the following investment priorities:

  • Investment in skills,
  • Investment for local business,
  • Investment in communities and place,
  • Supporting people into employment.

There are no financial allocations to these priorities.

The UK Government anticipates supporting a range of projects by theme and size, but lead authorities are encouraged to maximise impact and deliverability through larger projects (£500,000+) where this is possible.

As 90% of the funding available through the UK Community Renewal Fund is revenue funding and only available in 2021/22, projects should be predominantly, or exclusively revenue based. Projects that focus predominantly on the construction or major refurbishment of buildings, the purchase of land or the purchase of large pieces of equipment will not be supported.

What type of bids are we looking for?

Local priorities

In selecting the bids that will be forwarded to the UK Government for consideration the Council will prioritise the bids that have the greatest potential to deliver against key local growth priorities.

There are a number of key documents that you can draw on when thinking about how your proposal will connect with local priorities. The key documents relating to the various Community Renewal themes are:

These documents (listed with links above) will provide an indication of the priorities you should consider when compiling your approach and anticipated outcomes we will expect to achieve.

Consideration should be given to specific groups who, for many reasons, may face challenges in securing access to training and employment opportunities and development services.

In addition, we are seeking proposals that recognise the challenges and consider the need for economic renewal required as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and reflect the priorities set out in our newly approved Economic Wellbeing Plan.

Limited connectivity and digital skills have contributed to the challenges facing people seeking and staying in work; businesses connecting with their customers and communities developing their resilience. This is likely to remain a challenge as we approach COVID-19 recovery. As such we encourage applicants to consider how these challenges can be overcome within the context of the themes and activity they are proposing.

We expect to see clear links with local strategic priorities contained both explicitly (Section 2 - Project Impact of the UK Community Renewal Fund Application Form) and implicitly in your proposed method and approaches.

Geographic Coverage - projects should benefit the following places:

  • Perth & Kinross Council Area

Expected outcomes

Community Renewal Fund projects will have to demonstrate how they will deliver against one or more of a range of strategic outcomes set by the UK Government:

  • Skills and Training: Including getting people into education/training, supporting them to gain a qualification, getting people engaged in life skills support, and/or
  • Employment: Including supporting people to start looking for work, getting economically inactive people engaged with the benefits system
  • Business support: Including businesses introducing new products (internally or to the market), creating new jobs, safeguarding existing jobs and/or developing innovation plans. This also includes creating new businesses, improved digital connectivity to business premises, and getting organisations involved in knowledge transfer activity.
  • Net Zero: Including estimated CO2 equivalent reductions, the development of decarbonisation plans.
  • Community and Place: Including attracting investment, adding new green space infrastructure, boosting footfall or visitor numbers and/or building or renovating buildings. 

Selection process

The Community Renewal Fund has a two-stage appraisal and assessment process.

  1. Perth & Kinross Council (as the lead authority) will run an open and fair 'Call for Bids' for Community Renewal Fund projects. The Council will then appraise all submitted bids and will shortlist those which most strongly meet the UK Community Renewal Fund and local priorities. The Council is required by the UK Government to produce a shortlist of projects with a total value of no more than £3m. The Council must submit this shortlist to the UK Government no later than 18 June 2021.
  2. The UK Government will assess all bids submitted by Perth & Kinross Council (and other lead authorities) against national assessment criteria. The final decision about which projects are funded sits with the UK Government, who will announce the outcome of the assessment process from July 2021 onwards.

How bids will be assessed

As the lead authority, Perth & Kinross Council will assess all bids submitted. Bids will be assessed against:

  • the gateway criteria set out in the UK Community Renewal Fund Prospectus - bids that fail to meet these criteria are ineligible for support and will be rejected,
  • the extent to which they meet the objectives of UK Community Renewal Fund,
  • the extent to which bids would support the delivery of local growth and employment support priorities.

Once the UK Government has completed its assessment process and announced the outcomes, Perth & Kinross Council will enter into a funding agreement with successful bidders.

Call timelines

If you are interested in applying, you must read the guidance carefully and complete an application.

Bids must be submitted using the UK Community Renewal Fund Application Form, available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-community-renewal-fund-prospectus

Bids must be emailed to Perth & Kinross Council at CommunityRenewalFund@pkc.gov.uk.  Bids submitted in any other format will not be accepted.

The deadline for bid submissions was on 24 May 2021.

CRF bids process

Key dates

Perth & Kinross Council issues call for proposals

3 May 2021

Deadline for return of proposals

10am, 24 May 2021

Perth & Kinross Council completes appraisal & establishes a shortlist

W/B 7 June 2021

Applicants notified on first stage of application process

W/B 7 June 2021

Perth & Kinross Council submits application to UK Government

18 June 2021

Notification of decision from UK Government*

Early August 2021

Council issues Funding Agreement to successful proposals*

Mid August 2021

Delivery of projects begins*

End August 2021

Projects complete

31 March 2022

*Please note, these dates are indicative and subject to the UK Government making timely decisions about the projects to be funded and issuing further guidance and decision documentation in a timely manner.

For further information and to submit your application, please email PKCommunityRenewalFund@pkc.gov.uk.

The UK Community Renewal Fund is a competitive process and Perth & Kinross Council, and the UK Government will not enter into discussions with bidders.