Minister of Regional Growth and Local Government, Simon Clarke has today (30 July 2020) announced at the start of his two-day visit to Cornwall, a new allocation for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly of £500,000 of European Regional Development Fund investment to support business resilience and recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
This additional funding will give eligible small and medium enterprises (SMEs) access to grants between £1,000-£5,000, with no obligation for businesses to contribute financially. The grants could be used by SMEs to access new technology and other equipment as well as professional, legal, financial or other advice to help them get back on track.
Cornwall and Isles of Scilly’s £500,000 allocation is part of the latest £20million package announced today by the Government and comes in addition to the £10million Kick-Starting Tourism Package announced earlier this month, of which £1 million has been allocated to Cornwall. These grants will be fully funded by the Government from the England European Regional Development Fund to provide further support to businesses in the county, and help alleviate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The funding will be made available to eligible businesses through the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Hub (CIoS Growth Hub), a dedicated service, established since 2015, to help businesses and entrepreneurs access the support available through the EU funded Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Programme and beyond. The Growth Hub has been instrumental in guiding hundreds of Cornwall’s business owners through the support available during the lockdown, as well as helping them gear up for their recovery.
Stu Anderson, CIOS Growth Hub Operations Director, says “We welcome today’s news from the Government for further support to businesses in Cornwall to move forward after what has been a very difficult time for many. We are working with Central Government to ensure both grants are made available as quickly as possible.”
The announcement in Penzance, has kick-started the Minister’s two-day visit to Cornwall and emphasises the Government’s message around supporting the visitor economy.
During his visit, Minister Simon Clarke stopped at Penzance Jubilee pool, a week after its official reopening for the summer and following the completion of the geothermal project which enabled the heating of a section of the pool. An ambitious pilot project led by Geothermal Engineering Ltd, which has received £1.4m investment from ERDF, to help demonstrate the use of geothermal energy for heat. Ultimately the project provides a sustainable heating solution to the outside pool, which can reach up to 35 degrees, and contributes to the social enterprise’s future commercial viability.
Walking in Penzance’s High Streets, Simon Clarke also spoke with local businesses and discussed the effect of the pandemic on businesses, particularly those relying on tourism.
Before leaving Penzance and heading to central Cornwall, the Minister also had the opportunity to see Causewayhead, the chosen site of the Penzance Creative Cluster project. A regeneration project led by Cornwall Council, for which it hopes to secure £3.2m funding from ERDF, which aims to provide new high-quality workspaces for businesses in the creative sector.
As part of his visit, Mr Clarke will also visit Falmouth, Newquay and Wadebridge and meet with Cllr Julian German, Leader of the Council, Kate Kennally, CEO Cornwall Council as well as local Councillors and MPS to discuss local successes and current challenges facing the county, with a focus on the tourism and hospitality sector.