Newcastle City Council has announced a further £1.5 million package of support measures to help employment, businesses and local communities in the city.
Funded by the North of Tyne Combined Authority’s COVID-19 Capacity Fund, the council has developed a programme of support to help businesses, voluntary and community organisations and unemployed residents who have been adversely impacted by COVID-19.
Six projects – concerning employment, business support, voluntary and community sectors, community centres, managed workspaces, and high streets – have been funded to complement the wider economic recovery plan for the city.
North of Tyne Cabinet Member for Employability and Inclusion and deputy leader of Newcastle City Council Cllr Joyce McCarty said: “Over £55 million has been paid out to support over 4,000 local businesses through government grants, but there are many more sectors who weren’t included in the scope of those grants, which has led to job losses, closures and lack of support in communities.
“This additional funding will only go a small way to plug those gaps, but we remain steadfastly focused on getting people back into work, ensuring businesses grow and communities thrive.”
Cllr Ged Bell, cabinet member for Employment and Culture at Newcastle City Council said: “We have a wealth of talent in our city, and we want to ensure our businesses get access to essential support services to ensure their future.
“We also want people to be supported, so we will provide first-class access to employment training and advice, to help the many people who have lost their jobs due to this pandemic, back into work.
“Our community and voluntary sector are part of the social fabric of our city, and this funding will help our charities who provide vital support for our local communities.
“These are challenging times, and this funding will help support our wider plans to boost our local economy and ensure that our city is well on its way to recovery and will thrive once more.”
The funding is allocated to support the following areas:
- business Support
- voluntary and community sectors
- community centres
- managed workspaces
- high streets
Newcastle’s flagship Business & Intellectual Property Centre (BIPC) in the City Library will act as a central point for advice and support for SMEs. Business experts will provide tailored advice to SMEs to help them adapt to new challenges and opportunities in the current economic climate, as well as provide webinars and events.
The council has also pledged to support managed workspaces that provide services for the creative, digital and cultural sector, as this is a key industry for the city’s growth.
With unemployment set to rise due to the pandemic, supporting employment will be a key aspect of the funding. Through the City’s Skills Hub, anyone who has lost their job through COVID-19 will receive, advice about seeking new employment opportunities to help people get back into work.
Recognising the importance of the voluntary and community sector, the fund will also be used to support charities who haven’t been able to access other support.
Another strand of the project includes supporting community centres to stay open, due to their importance in supporting local communities.
And supporting local high streets, is the final element of the package, ensuring that local communities benefit from a thriving local economy.