UK GovernmentThe UK Community Renewal Fund is a UK Government programme for 2021/22. The CRF is to help 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.

The UK Government has designated 100 areas as ‘Priority Places’, with West Dunbartonshire included on the list. As part of the process to compete for these funds the UK Government has identified West Dunbartonshire Council as the Lead Authority. As such West Dunbartonshire Council has the responsibility for inviting, assessing, prioritising, and submitting bids to government of up to £3 million for each local authority area.

West Dunbartonshire Council Role (Lead Authority)

West Dunbartonshire Council has been designated as a lead authority by the UK Government. As a lead authority, West Dunbartonshire 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 manging their performance

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

This following information provides details about West Dunbartonshire’s application process.

West Dunbartonshire Council is seeking bids from organisations wishing to deliver activity as part of the UK Community Renewal Fund.

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.  They are available:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-community-renewal-fund-prospectus

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 West Dunbartonshire 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. A focus for this Fund 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.

Eligibility

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 that will provide a service to benefit other organisations or individuals (i.e. not if the intention of the project is to further their own business/organisation). 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 align with at least one of these 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 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.

Local Priorities

In selecting the bids that will be forwarded to the UK Government for consideration West Dunbartonshire 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 majority of these can be found on our Key Council Documents page.

Key among these for the various Community Renewal themes are:

These documents 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.

Some of these challenges and our approach to dealing with them are outlined in ‘Community Planning West Dunbartonshire ‘Local Outcome Improvement Plan 2017 -27

These challenges and more specific target groups affected by disadvantage, and importantly, interventions to address the situation are outlined in our annual local child poverty report: ‘West Dunbartonshire: Local Child Poverty Action Report 2019 – 2020’.

Those submitting proposals around employability and training should be mindful of the actions and priorities in the ‘West Dunbartonshire Community Learning and Development Plan 2018 -2021'.

Similarly proposals around employability and training should be aware of the current operating environment in West Dunbartonshire and ensure that proposed activity is complementary and additional. Details of the local operating environment for employability can be found on our Strategic Skills Pipeline page.

Those seeking to develop community-based proposals should be aware of the opportunities in out local plan – referred to above and the priorities and approaches outlined in our: ‘Community Empowerment Strategy and Action Plan’.

Finally, we are seeking proposals that recognise the challenges and take into account the need for economic renewal required as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic has significantly increased the number of people in receipt of Universal Credit; approximately 14% of the working population were furloughed; and there has been a 29% reduction in footfall in retail and recreation. These issues are contained in resources such as:

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.

Please be aware we are not seeking a socio/economic and policy analysis in your proposals. However, we expect to see clear links with local strategic priorities contained  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:

  • West Dunbartonshire Local Authority Area

Community Renewal Fund projects will have to demonstrate how they will deliver against one of 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 business 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/blue infrastructure, boosting footfall or visitor numbers and/or building or renovating buildings.  (Green infrastructure is a network of multi-functional green space and other green features, urban and rural, which can deliver quality of life and environmental benefits for communities.  Blue infrastructure usually relates to urban water infrastructure, including ponds, lakes, streams rivers and storm water provision)

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

  1. West Dunbartonshire Council (as the lead authority) will run an open and fair ‘Call for Bids’ for Community Renewal Fund projects. West Dunbartonshire Council will then appraise all submitted bids and is required by the UK Government to produce a shortlist of projects of no more than £3m per local authority area. West Dunbartonshire Council must submit this shortlist to the UKG no later than 18 June.
  1. The UK Government will assess all bids submitted by West Dunbartonshire 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 West Dunbartonshire 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 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.

Following assessment West Dunbartonshire Council will submit those eligible bids which most strongly meet the UK Community Renewal Fund and local priorities to the UK Government for consideration, up to a maximum of £3m per place.

The UK Government will assess all bids submitted by lead authorities against the criteria set out in the UK Community Renewal Fund Prospectus.

The UK Government will announce the outcome of the assessment process from late July 2021 onwards.

West Dunbartonshire Council will enter into a funding agreement with successful bidders.

If you are interested in applying, you will have to read the guidance and complete an application.

Bids must be submitted using the UK Community Renewal Fund Application Form:

Bids must be submitted to West Dunbartonshire Council using this email address: WDCCommunity.RenewalFund@west-dunbarton.gov.uk

Bids submitted in any other format will not be accepted.

Bids must be submitted by 12 Noon on Monday the 17 May

Application process and timeline

Application process and timeline
Key Milestones Key Dates

West Dunbartonshire Council Issue Calls for Community Renewal Proposals

19/04/2021

Deadline for Return of Proposals

Noon 17 May 2021

West Dunbartonshire Council completes appraisal and establishes a shortlist

Week beginning 24 May

Applicants notified of decision to include on, or reject from the West Dunbartonshire shortlist

Week beginning 31 May

West Dunbartonshire Community Renewal Submission to UK Government

18 June 2021

Notification of Decision from UK Government

August 2021*

West Dunbartonshire Council issues Funding and Service Agreement to  successful Proposals

Mid August*

Commence Delivery

End of August*

Project Complete

31/03/2022

* please note 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.

To find out more about the Community Renewal Fund in West Dunbartonshire, the Call for Bids and how to apply, please register for this free Eventbrite, Zoom webinar: 

Date of Webinar:

  • Tuesday the 4 May 2pm – 3pm

Sign Up for participation here:

For further information, please email:

The UK Community Renewal Fund is a competitive process and West Dunbartonshire Council and the UK Government will not enter into discussions with bidders.