What do we know about the future of European funding in Wales?

What do we know about the future of European funding in Wales?

Published: 08/04/21 | Categories:
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Author: Janine Downing

The current programme of European and Structural Funds has projects which run into 2023. Now we have left the European Union we know that we will receive no further funding directly from Europe.

In the recent weeks we have seen some information released on what funding will be available in replacement.

We expect this to be an evolving picture and will provide updates as soon as we receive them. To ensure you receive the most up to date information contact us to sign up to the 3-SET mailing list.

UK Community Renewal Fund

This will support communities across the UK in 2021-22 to pilot programmes and new approaches as the government moves away from the EU Structural Funds model and towards the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. Funding will be allocated competitively with 100 areas across the UK identified as priority areas. 14 Local authorities within Wales have been identified as priority areas (Blaenau Gwent, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Conwy, Denbighshire, Gwynedd, Anglesey, Merthyr Tydfil, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire, Powys, Swansea, Rhonda Cynon Taf and Torfaen).

The fund will be administered by local authorities who will co-ordinate applications from across organisations within their areas, this can include voluntary sector organisations. Each local authority will be able to submit a portfolio of projects up to a maximum of £3mil. Projects announcements are expected to be made at the end of July and all project activity must be completed by March 2022.

To nurture innovative thinking and offer flexibility, projects may align with one, or deliver across several, of the following investment priorities:

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

There will be no ringfences applied across these themes.

90% of funding available through the UK Community Renewal Fund is revenue funding.

At the time of writing this the following local authorities are open for application. We will highlight others as they become available.

Pembrokeshire – deadline 7am – 4 May 2021

Carmarthenshire – deadline Noon – 5 May 2021

Conwy – deadline 5pm – 14 May 2021

Your local authority will be able to provide further information.

Shared Prosperity Fund

At this time no further information has been released about the Shared Prosperity Fund or the geographical area it will cover. This fund is expected to be the replacement for European Social Fund and cover similar activity areas to the Community Renewal Fund. Further details are expected in the autumn.

Levelling up Fund

The Levelling Up Fund will invest in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK, including town centre and high street regeneration, local transport projects, and cultural and heritage assets. Areas across the UK have been ranked, to prioritise funding.

The fund will be delivered through local authorities in Wales. There will be a role for MP’s in ‘backing one bid they see as a priority” More details on this can be found in section 3.2 and 3.7 of the prospectus (link above).

The fund will focus on investment that requires up to £20m of funding. Larger bids will be accepted for transport (£20-50m).

Local Authorities must submit their bids to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government by noon on Friday 18 June 2021. It is expected that investment decisions will be made by the UK Government for this funding round by autumn 2021.

Further details of how the fund will operate from 2022-23 will be set out later this year.

Community Ownership Fund

The UK government will create a new £150 million Community Ownership Fund to help ensure that communities across the UK can continue to benefit from the local facilities and amenities that are most important to them. From the summer, community groups will be able to bid for up to £250,000 matched funding to help them to buy local assets to run as community-owned businesses.

In exceptional cases up to £1 million of matched funding will be available to help establish a community-owned sports club or buy a sports ground at risk of loss from the community. This will help ensure that important parts of the social fabric – like pubs, sports clubs, theatres and post office buildings – can continue to play a central role in towns and villages across the UK.

The first bidding round for the Community Ownership Fund will open by June 2021. A full bidding prospectus will be published alongside this.

The Turing Scheme

The Turing scheme is the UK Government replacement for the Erasmus+ project. The Turing Scheme offers funding opportunities to organisations in the higher education, schools, further education and vocational education and training sectors.

Organisations are encouraged to sign up for more information on the scheme website to be notified when funding opportunities are live.

Welsh Government International Learning Exchange

The scheme will enable learners and staff, both from Wales and those who come to study or work in Wales, to continue to benefit from international exchanges in a similar way to the opportunities that flowed from Erasmus+, not just in Europe but also further afield.

The new scheme – which will run from 2022 to 2026 – will be supported by an investment of £65m from the Welsh Government. Cardiff University are leading on the development of the scheme and further details are expected later this year.

Horizon Europe

One source of funding the UK is still eligible to apply for is Horizon Europe. Horizon Europe is the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation with a budget of €95.5 billion. It tackles climate change, helps to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and boosts the EU’s competitiveness and growth.

Further information on how to apply can be found here.