Nottingham has been successful in applying for almost £3million of funding to be spent on improving skills, boosting employment and helping businesses to grow.

The City Council has received £2,879,496 from the Government’s UK Community Renewal Fund (UK CRF), which was the full amount of grant money applied for.

The £220million fund is designed to help pilot programmes and new approaches in local communities.

It will now fund the Council, in partnership with The East Midlands Chamber, Groundwork, University of Nottingham and Volunteer It Yourself, to deliver four UK CRF projects between now and June next year. These are:

  • East Midlands Chamber (£1.1m): Support 280 businesses in key growth sectors to recover from the pandemic, and deliver a sector-based skills programme to convert Kickstart placements (a Government scheme where employers are given funding to employ under-25s on Universal Credit) and graduates placements into sustainable jobs;
  • Groundwork (£1.2m): Fund a wage-subsidy for 100 people, creating jobs and helping employers recruit over-25s who are not eligible for the Kickstart programme;
  • University of Nottingham (£354,000): Advance retrofit strategy and policy developmentthrough the delivery of energy and carbon assessments, cost and feasibility studies, compliance reviews, cost-effectiveness analysis and workforce carbon skills support;
  • Volunteer It Yourself (£204,000): Support 150 unemployed and economically-inactive 16 to 24-year-olds, gain and apply vocational construction skills while renovating valued local buildings and spaces in the City.

Councillor Rebecca Langton, Portfolio Holder for Skills, Growth and Economic Development at Nottingham City Council, said: “This is a significant sum of money and will be invested in key projects across the city designed to support economic recovery from the Covid pandemic, as well as provide more job and apprenticeship opportunities.

“The project will directly contribute to key elements of the Council Plan, including helping 1,000 residents into employment, education and training, continuing the important work of the Nottingham Jobs service, and helping employers to connect vacant positions with local people.”

Diane Beresford, deputy chief executive of East Midlands Chamber, said: “We are delighted our bid has been successful and believe it could have a transformative impact for so many businesses and individuals in Nottingham. 

“The idea is to enhance and improve access to the existing support out there for businesses, particularly those most affected by the pandemic. The East Midlands Accelerator project will look at what the needs are locally and seek to address them with targeted, bespoke support that brings together key stakeholders across the City – with each strand connected by the golden thread of acceleration.

“Many businesses are aware of the need to decarbonise, and want to be greener, but unsure about how to get there. We’ll therefore be helping them to make the first big steps towards a sustainable future, enabling them to meet low-carbon targets – while also boosting key skillsets that will help firms grow in a digital world.

“We’re also excited about building on our success in the Kickstart Scheme, having been the UK’s largest and most successful gateway organisation in helping businesses to create more than 1,300 placements in our region.”

Phillip Shaw, Chief Financial Officer at Groundwork Greater Nottingham, said: “This is wonderful news for Nottingham, and we are delighted to be working with our partners in enabling our communities to continue to prosper and flourish.”

Prof Lucelia Rodrigues, Chair of Sustainable and Resilient Cities at the University of Nottingham, said: “The UK Community Renewal Fund will provide us with a unique opportunity to seamlessly integrate the knowhow from a range of disciplines to inform policy development and help the delivery of Nottingham’s carbon-neutral targets.

“It will allow us to capitalise on existing partnerships, knowledge, expertise and experience, building upon the lessons learned from past projects developed in Nottingham and beyond.

“The University of Nottingham project will provide a clear and credible strategy to accelerate the City’s 2028 net-zero carbon ambition and develop a framework to deliver change at the pace and scale needed to effectively decarbonise existing homes.”

Tim Reading, Chief Executive of Volunteer it Yourself, said: “We’re delighted to see young people, skills and employability outcomes recognised across this fund for Nottingham City Council. These are three things at the heart of our mission, and we’re delighted to be one of four projects delivering further on these priorities, working directly with young people and communities in Nottingham.”