Community Renewal Fund - Call for project proposals

The Government recently published the prospectus for the new £220m UK Community Renewal Fund (CRF) to be delivered in 2021-22.

The CRF is an opportunity for people, places, and communities across Surrey to pilot new approaches which respond to local challenges and local need; whilst aligning with national and local provision. The CRF is the pre-cursor to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to be launched in 2022 which will replace EU Structural Funds.

This is an open call for project proposals. Shortlisting and final submission of projects will be managed by Surrey County Council (SCC) as Lead Authority.

Types of CRF bid

Applicants can put forward potential projects which align with one, or deliver across several, of the following investment priorities:

  • Investment in skills – i.e. projects that address current and emerging local skills needs and are complementary to broader place-based investment.
  • Investment for local business – i.e. targeted support for under-represented groups and community-level interventions to increase opportunity for all, including rural enterprises.
  • Investment in communities and place – i.e. projects for innovative pilots that address community needs and support local places.
  • Supporting people into employment – i.e. innovative pilots delivering bespoke programmes to support individuals with multiple or complex barriers to employment.

More information on the investment themes can be found in the CRF prospectus.

Who can bid for CRF

Applicants to the CRF can include borough and district councils, voluntary and community sector organisations, local education providers including universities and umbrella business groups.

To maximise the possibility of being shortlisted, applicants should ensure that project proposals align with the objectives set out in the CRF prospectus and the Fund Eligibility Rules and Guidance.

These objectives include the project's contribution to local need; specific CRF investment priorities (skills, local business, communities and place, employment); the UK's net zero objectives; transferable learning for UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) implementation; innovation in service delivery.

Other key factors that successful projects will need to demonstrate include deliverability by March 2022; robust risk/project management; innovative delivery approaches; comprehensive value for money and evidence of need; and effective monitoring and evaluation.

How much CRF funding is available

A maximum of £3m of CRF is available per place. Place is defined as lower tier, borough, and unitary geography. 90% of the monies available is revenue funding. The CRF may fund up to 100% of delivery costs, however, the Government is encouraging applicants to leverage other funding (where possible).

We would recommend that project applicants follow the Government's guidance regarding maximising impact and deliverability through larger projects (£500,000+) where possible.

How bids will be assessed

SCC will oversee the appraisal of submitted project proposals and identify a shortlist for submission to UK government. This process must also include consideration of the equalities impact under the Public Sector Equality Duty.

SCC's appraisal process will follow the Government's national guidelines and consist of the following stages:

  • Application of the gateway (pass/fail) criteria to establish that each project received is eligible for consideration
  • Appraisal of eligible longlist projects against criteria 1 (Strategic fit) and 2 (Deliverability, effectiveness, and efficiency) by independent assessors. The scoring system applied will replicate the Government's preferred approach and will result in each eligible project being awarded an overall percentage score
  • A validation roundtable to enable the assessors to compare and finalise project scores.

Finally, successful bids will need to demonstrate strong strategic alignment with the key priority areas set out in SCC's Economic Strategy Statement.

If any shortlisted projects submitted by SCC are successful, a funding agreement will be established between SCC (as the Lead Authority) and the project deliverer.

The Government will assess all bids submitted by lead authorities against the criteria set out in the CRF Prospectus.

Submitting a bid

Please read the CRF Prospectus and the CRF Technical Note for Project Applicants and Deliverers before starting work on a bid. Bids must be submitted using the UK Community Renewal Fund Application Form. Bids submitted in any other format will not be accepted.

These documents are available on Gov.uk.

Bids must be submitted to Surrey County Council using this email address: economy.growth@surreycc.gov.uk

Bids must be submitted by 5pm on Friday 21 May.

CRF Timescales

Bids must be submitted to Surrey County Council by 17.00 on Friday 21 May. SCC will submit shortlisted projects to the UK government for assessment by 18 June 2021.

The UK government will announce successful projects for CRF from late July onwards.

Contact

If you have any questions about the CRF or the application process, please email the Economy and Growth Team: economy.growth@surreycc.gov.uk

Where possible, and resource permitting, we will be happy to provide support on project proposals.