Grants & funding

Here you will find information on grants and funding for individuals, organisations and businesses in Northumberland.

This page will tell you about funding opportunities available through Northumberland County Council.

The Corporate Programmes and External Funding team produce a regular Funding Bulletin that is distributed by email to; NCC staff, external organisations, individuals and businesses in Northumberland and beyond. The Bulletin includes various live funding opportunities from national and local charities, trusts, government and other sources. There is a brief description of the funding opportunity and an active link to take you directly to the funder’s website, where you can learn more about the fund and print off any information you require.

You can access the latest and other recent editions by clicking below:

Latest Funding 'e'Bulletin:

Previous issues:


To be added to the distribution list, please email: david.baird@northumberland.gov.uk or telephone 01670 623888.

For NCC staff whose function involves searching for funding to support or develop Council services, we could provide a free licence to access the full range of Grantfinder services. Grantfinder is distributed by the Idox group and is Europe’s leading provider of up-to-date funding and policy information. Recipients must have a valid NCC email address therefore partner organisations may not be eligible for a licence.

The availability of full licences are restricted by number and by service, so if your department already has a licence you may have to share. To ask about a licence, please email: david.baird@northumberland.gov.uk    

 

If you’re a community group, business or funder and you wish to promote a funding opportunity or related funding activity, please email: david.baird@northumberland.gov.uk.

Note: the editor’s decision on what is considered appropriate is final.

The information contained in these webpages is meant as a general guide only. It has been prepared from information provided by third parties and NCC accepts no responsibility for any actions taken or not taken in reliance on or in connection with this information.

Where reference or links (which may not be active links) are made to external publications or websites, the views expressed are those of the authors of those publications or websites, which are not necessarily those of NCC. NCC accepts no responsibility for the contents or accuracy of those publications or websites.

ECO Help to Heat statement of intent for flexible eligibility

A consortium of Local authorities led by Northumberland County Council intends to work closely with energy companies, installers and customers to maximise the input of Flexible Eligibility ECO on fuel poor households.
Under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) Regulations 2017 - 2018 (ECO2t) local authorities can set their own criteria for eligibility for funding for domestic energy efficiency measures. This funding is aimed at those within a local authority most likely to be in fuel poverty. Energy companies can spend up to a maximum of 10% of their full obligation within these criteria.
This statement takes into account NICE recommendations on how to reduce the risk of death and ill health associated with living in a cold home. NICE guideline [NG6] Published date: March 2015 https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng6  
The aim is to help meet a range of public health and other goals. These include:
  • Reducing preventable excess winter death rates.
  • Improving health and wellbeing among vulnerable groups.
  • Reducing pressure on health and social care services.
  • Reducing 'fuel poverty' and the risk of fuel debt or being disconnected from gas and electricity supplies (including self-disconnection).
  • Improving the energy efficiency of homes.
Households are considered eligible for flexible eligibility ECO if they are at risk of living in fuel poverty (FP) or a low income household, with at least one household member vulnerable to the effects of living in a cold home (LIVC). Flexible eligibility only applies to private tenure so a property must be privately owned or rented.

To be redirected to the full statement of intent, eligibility criteria and how to apply for funding please click here 
Advance Northumberland, is the economic regeneration company for Northumberland and is responsible for the Council’s business development activities. This includes being responsible for inward investment, strategic account management and the commissioning of a range of business support initiatives.

The mission is to:
  • attract private sector investment in business and property
  • promote enterprise and support business growth
  • support the regeneration of disadvantaged places and neighbourhoods
  • help create prosperous, attractive, sustainable communities throughout Northumberland
For further information, please go to the Advance Northumberland Website
Tel: 01670 528400

Email: enquiries@arch-group.co.uk
 

 
Contracts Finder lets you search for information about contracts with the government and its agencies which are worth more than £10,000.
TED provides free access to business opportunities and is updated five times a week with approximately 1,500 public procurement notices. These are from the European Union, the European economic area and beyond.

You can browse, search and sort procurement notices by country, region and business sector. For further information, visit TED's website. 

 
Leasing and asset finance from Shire Leasing are alternative sources of finance for small to medium enterprises.

It allows them to invest in assets or equipment for growth, including communication equipment and catering equipment, and has even supported the purchase of livestock and small wind turbines.

The average lease size is £6,000 and the average agreement term is four years.
Rivers Capital Partners manage a micro-loan fund from the finance for business North East programme. It’s designed to support small businesses looking for funding to expand operations and start-ups.

There is just over £2m to invest in loans up until the end of 2015. The fund works exclusively with struggling businesses to secure mainstream finance, stimulating the creation of new business and securing jobs.

They can offer:
  • loans between £1,000 and £25,000
  • credit for those with a bad credit history
  • fast solutions - on average it takes two weeks to receive funds
  • competitive interest rates
  • no hidden fees
  • simple and hassle-free application process
To speak to the investment team, please call 0191 230 6270 or 01642 903 902. Alternatively, email: info@riversloan.com. Rivers Capital Partners Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA no: 519469).
North East Access to Finance is responsible for several ‘legacy’ funds, which have now realised most of their investments. However they hope to have over £25m available in the near future to support SMEs across our Local Enterprise Partnership areas.

NEA2F help businesses in the region to access finance. They do this in two ways. The first is acting as a signpost to direct businesses to sources of finance and support them in this. The second is working to develop new sources of public investment funding that will become available to the region’s small to medium enterprises.

Historical funds which have contributed to this legacy include:
North East Investment Funds 3, 3b and 3c: These mezzanine funds generated £9.5m legacy.
NEL Growth Fund: This seed capital fund invested in 25 SMEs. Anticipated legacy over £2m.
Three Pillars Fund/ Design & Creative/ Creative Content Funds: A range of pilot funds investing in hi-tech growth businesses, the creative/digital/film sectors.
Proof of Concept and Co-Investment Funds: Helped early stage businesses to prove their viability and invested in hi-tech SMEs. Legacy is over £10m with more to be realised.

To be redirected to their website www.nea2f.co.uk/

Community Action Northumberland (CAN) supports and helps sustain rural communities in Northumberland by:
  • Promoting rural issues providing and supporting a ‘rural voice’ to influence and tackle rural community issues
  • Empowering organisations – supporting and developing local community groups and organisations. 
  • Supporting individuals – identifying, developing and managing projects to address the needs of rural communities. 
CAN was initially set up as the Community Council of Northumberland in 1951. CAN is one of 38 Rural Community Councils across England which operate as a network under the umbrella of our national body ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England).  RCCs are charitable local development agencies, generally based at county level, which lead, support and enable community initiatives, reaching 50,000 grassroots organisations.

ACRE’s vision is to be the voice of rural communities – supported by the wealth of evidence and intelligence on rural matters collected from the 38 members.  This evidence is used to influence national policy on rural issues from housing, health and transport to broadband, services and fuel poverty.

As a member of the ACRE network, CAN is able to ensure that Northumberland’s rural communities can benefit from the knowledge and best practice gathered from across the country, and contribute to the national debate on rural issues.

Locally, CAN works with a wide range of partners to share resources and knowledge, and to achieve the best results for their communities.

CAN’s vision is of rural communities in Northumberland that are:
  • Vibrant
  • Inclusive
  • Confident
  • Effective
  • Sustainable
For further information click here
This page gives details of European programmes and funding currently available.



European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) 2014 – 2020
 
ESIF is the EU’s main funding programme supporting investment in innovation, businesses, skills and employment.

There are three types of funds:
  • European Social Fund (ESF) focuses on improving the employment opportunities, promoting social inclusion and investing in skills by providing help people need to fulfil their potential.
  • European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) supports research and innovation, small to medium sized enterprises and creation of a low carbon economy.
  • European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) supports rural businesses to grow and expand, improve knowledge and skills and get started.
The following documents provide information about the funds:

ESF Operational Programme for England 2014 to 2020
ERDF Operational Programme for England 2014 to 2020
EAFRD Operational Programme for England 2014 to 2020

The following guidance explains who is eligible to apply for funding. Northumberland County Council, as part of the North East Technical Assistance Project (part funded through the 2014 to 2020  ESIF Programme), is able to provide support to help you apply for ERDF and ESF.

Funding rounds and calls for projects will be issued via partners and the NCC Funding 'e'Bulletin
 
Key contacts:
Heather Smith
Corporate Programmes & Funding Manager
Tel. 01670 623883

Carol Johns-McLeod
Senior Project Officer (ERDF)
Carol.Johns-McLeod@northumberland.gov.uk
Tel. 01670 623875

Elaine Maylin
Senior Project Officer (ESF)
Elaine.Maylin@northumberland.gov.uk
Tel. 01670 623876

EU Budget: InvestEU Programme to support jobs, growth and innovation in Europe

For the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027, the Commission proposes to create the InvestEU Programme, bringing EU budget financing in the form of loans and guarantees under one roof. InvestEU will bring together the multitude of financial programmes currently available and expand the successful model of the Investment Plan for Europe, the Juncker Plan. With InvestEU, the Commission will further boost job creation, investment and innovation.

1. InvestEU Fund

Building on the success of the Juncker Plan, the InvestEU Fund will continue to mobilise public and private investment in the EU to help address the still sizeable investment gap in Europe. The new Fund will notably:
Do more with less: The Commission is proposing €15.2 billion be earmarked for the InvestEU Fund. This will allow the EU budget to provide a €38 billion guarantee which will be used to support strategically important projects across the EU. By crowding in private and public investments, the Commission expects the InvestEU Fund to trigger more than €650 billion in additional investment across the EU over the 7-year period;
Create a diversified, flexible portfolio: The InvestEU Fund supports four policy areas – sustainable infrastructure; research, innovation and digitisation; small and medium-sized businesses; and social investment and skills. InvestEU will also be flexible: it will have the ability to react to market changes and policy priorities that change over time; Streamline and simplify: The InvestEU Programme will have a single, coherent governance structure and reporting requirements, avoiding overlaps. A single fund will integrate the many different EU-level financial instruments and the subsequent applicable rules that accompany them. This means a strengthened focus on policy areas and objectives. From helping us meet our Paris climate objectives to meeting our commitments in the European Pillar of Social Rights, InvestEU will be strongly linked to EU policy priorities;Capitalise on the local, national and EU-wide expertise of our financing partners: Given its role as the EU's public bank, its capacity to operate in all Member States, and its experience in managing the EFSI, the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group will remain the Commission's main financial partner under InvestEU. In addition, Member States' national and regional promotional banks and other institutions which can offer specific expertise and experience may become financial partners, subject to conditions; Help Member States leverage their EU funds more effectively: Member States will have the option to channel some of their allocated Cohesion Policy Funds into the InvestEU budget guarantee. Any funds channelled into the Fund will benefit from the EU guarantee and its high credit rating, giving national and regional investments more firepower.If Member States choose to do this, the funds will be earmarked for that particular country. To facilitate a seamless deployment of the InvestEU fund, the Commission is also working on further streamlining State aid control of Member States' money channelled through InvestEU.

2. InvestEU Advisory Hub

Building on the model of the Investment Plan's European Investment Advisory Hub, the InvestEU Advisory Hub will integrate the 13 different advisory services currently available into a one-stop-shop for project development assistance. It will provide technical support and assistance to help with the preparation, development, structuring and implementation of projects, including capacity building.

3. European Investment Project Portal 

The Investment Plan's European Investment Project Portal gives visibility to investment projects across the EU and will be continued under the InvestEU Programme. The Portal brings together investors and project promoters by providing an easily-accessible and user-friendly database, giving projects more visibility and enabling investors to find investment opportunities in the sector or location of their interest.



INTERREG Two Seas Cross-Border Programme Opens Eighth Call for Projects

The INTERREG Two Seas Cross-Border Cooperation Programme enables cooperation between regional and local authorities and other organisations from areas in four Member States: England, France, the Netherlands and Flanders. The Eighth Call for project proposals is now open. The overall aim of the programme is to develop the competitiveness and sustainable growth of the programme's area.

Project applications will need to ensure strong links with the Programme strategy, and in particular the four main priority axes. Currently all four priorities, and the associated six specific objectives, are available under the Call; however, this may change as the available budget may become limited for one or more priority axes, notably priority axis three.

The four priority axes are:
  • Priority axis 1: Technological and social innovation
  • Priority axis 2: Low carbon technologies
  • Priority axis 3: Adaptation to climate change
  • Priority axis 4: Resource-efficient economy
Project partnerships must consist of a minimum of two partners, representing two member states. All projects must have as a main goal to "overcome" the maritime border and should therefore be composed of at least one English partner.

To be eligible, organisations must be from the programme area and may be in the public, private, voluntary or community sectors. This includes universities, not-for-profit organisations, and those sectors of regional and local authorities contributing to the territorial development process (transport, environment, regional development, etc.). Public-private partnerships may also apply for funding.

Please note that the BREXIT process may have an impact on this Call.

The deadline for submitting Concept Notes is 8 April 2019. Applicants will receive recommendations in July 2019, and will have the chance to submit a full application form by 31 October 2019. Successful projects will be notified in February 2020.

For further information click here
The following are just a few examples of the latest opportunities, there are many more in our eBulletin.

North East Growth HUB

The Growth Hub is delivered by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP). The LEP works to make the North East a place where more businesses invest, grow and prosper, to deliver more and better jobs for everyone.
The Hub is a crucial part of the LEP's Business Growth strategy. Business growth and access to finance are key drivers for more and better jobs. They are necessities in addressing market failures to support stronger indigenous businesses to drive up GVA and employment. The North East LEP's Business Growth Programme provides the framework for an investment of over £200m in access to finance and business support over six years. This investment will increase profitability, wages and employment across the local economy.
The North East Local Enterprise Partnership area covers County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland. 

The Hub signposts to the latest in regional business support services and finance and funding opportunities, helping businesses access the funding and support they need to grow.

To access the Growth Hub please click this link

North East Business Support Fund

The North East Business Support Fund is managed by NBSL, a North East Enterprise Agency that works to assist pre-start, new and existing businesses by providing information, advice and support on running and developing a business

The fund offers

  • up to 35% support, to a maximum of £2,800 (total project costs between £3,000 and £8,000)

  • assistance in finding the right provider

  • links to other complementary funding in the North East

To be eligible, organisations must

  • be a registered private sector business or social enterprise based in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear or County Durham

  • have already commenced trading

  • be planning to increase turnover or number of employees

For further information and guidelines, click here.

Applications for UK businesses to apply for grants of up to £2,500 to attend international trade shows.

Applications open today for SME grants to attend international trade shows. successful businesses are able to use grants to fund exhibiting costs at 55 events in Q1 2019. Businesses can apply for grants of up to £2,500 to attend international trade shows through the Department for International Trade’s (DIT) Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP).

TAP provides financial support for SMEs to participate in overseas exhibitions and conferences that cover a range of sectors, from education to aerospace and creative to maritime. Successful businesses can use the grants to fund direct exhibiting costs, including stand costs and conference fees.

55 events comprise the list, ranging from the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, to Cannes Lions Festival, to Summer Fancy Food in New York, and Mobile World Congress Shanghai.

Attending international conferences and events are an effective way for those new to exporting, or exploring new territories, to meet potential customers face-to-face and start the exporting process.

For further information click here
 

The Trusthouse Charitable Foundation

The Foundation offers funding to charitable organisations (including CICs, social enterprises, not-for-profit registered companies, voluntary organisations) that are working to address local issues in areas of extreme urban deprivation, or in remote and fragile rural communities

The level of the applicant's income will determine which grants programme they can apply for

  • Groups with a total annual income of up to £100,000 can apply for Small Grants of up to £6,000 for revenue costs such as core costs, salaries, overheads, project costs 

  • Groups with an income over £100,000 and under £250,000 can apply for Small Grants of up to £6,000 for one-off capital cost for new buildings, repairs and improvements, purchase of equipment

  • Groups with a total annual income of over £250,000 and under £500,000 can apply for Standard Grants of between £6,001 and £12,000 for revenue or one-off capital costs. Total cost of capital projects must be less than £1 million 

  • Groups with a total annual income of over £500,000 and under £5 million can apply for Large Grants of over £10,000 and up to £50,000 for one-off capital costs only. Total cost of the project must be for less than £1 million total. Buildings must be owned by applicant or leased for a minimum of five years 

  • Village halls and community centres with any income up to £5 million can apply for village hall and community centre capital grants of between £1,000 and £50,000 for new builds, repairs, improvements or extensions 

  • Hospices only can apply for capital grants of between £6,000 and £50,000 for new builds, repairs, improvements, extensions and equipment purchase. 

Grants Committee meetings are held in February, late April/early May, July and late October/early November. Applications need to be received at least six weeks before a meeting to be included on the agenda. The Foundation operates a rolling programme and groups can apply at any time throughout the year

For further information click here


The North East Social Investment Fund

The North East Social Investment Company (NESIC) has launched The North East Social Investment Fund (NESIF), the first fund of its kind in England. NESIF is a £10.2 million fund set up specifically to provide investment to organisations that are passionate about making a positive social impact by taking on some of the big social challenges faced by the region. These challenges include homelessness, poverty, unemployment, health and social care, mental health, offender rehabilitation and the regeneration of deprived communities. The social investments NESIF can offer range in size from 100k to £1 million and work alongside banks and other sources of finance to deliver the right package of funding designed to meet each organisation’s circumstances and needs

So, if you’re an ambitious community or voluntary organisation, or a social enterprise dedicated to addressing social issues faced by the region, NESIF could be the fund you’ve been waiting for! NESIF is officially open for business and actively seeking applications from organisations located in or with substantial operations in the North East of England

The North East Social Investment Company (NESIC) is backed by Northern Rock Foundation, Big Society Capital and Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, and managed by Northstar Ventures

To be redirected to the funders website click here

Government Launches New Fund to Increase Surplus Food Redistribution in England

The Food Waste Reduction Fund aims to help avoid surplus food produced by food businesses from becoming waste, by enabling not-for-profit organisations across England to redistribute more of this food to people in need.
Funding will be provided for projects to help overcome barriers to increasing redistribution. Projects could cover areas such as

  • Training for the people involved in supplying and distributing surplus food – on IT and food safety skills
  • Infrastructure such as packing and labelling facilities, freezer capacity or refrigerated vehicles to enable more types of food or larger quantities to be redistributed
  • Facilitation to form collaborative partnerships and help not-for-profits join up with appropriate partners
  • Communication and technology to facilitate logistics between donor and recipient organisations

Funding will be awarded with the aim of making a significant increase to the amount of food redistributed, as cost-effectively as possible. It is expected that grants will range from £20,000 to £75,000. WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) is administering the fund on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). 
There is a two-stage application process and the deadline for expressions of interest is 30 March 2018.
To be redirected to the funders website click here

EFF Measures of Common Interest

Assistance is available for individuals or organisations operating in the fisheries sector in England, with proposals for projects likely to be of collective benefit or interest. Such a project may be in the area of collective actions, pilot projects, assistance to fishing ports, the protection and development of aquatic flora and fauna or of new markets and promotional campaigns.
The overall objective of this scheme is to promote the competitiveness and profitability of the UK fisheries sector, within the context of sustainable development.  The main objectives are:
  • To support common actions that will contribute to improved management, sustainable exploitation of resources, improved hygiene standards and minimisation of environmental impacts;
  • To support investments in fisheries ports, infrastructure and services;
  • To provide conditions in which the fisheries industry is profitable in the long term, competitive in both global and local markets to the benefit of producers and consumers; and
  • To develop new markets and promotional campaigns including on quality and value enhancement for fisheries and aquaculture products.
These objectives for EFF Axis 3 comprise in England of a scheme for grant aid in the action areas of:
  • collective actions
  • pilot projects
  • fishing ports, landing sites and shelters
  • the protection and development of aquatic flora and fauna; and
  • new markets and promotional campaigns
For further information click here
Wolfson foundation - disability and special needs grants
Grants of between £15,000 and £100,000 are available to special schools and colleges, as well as charities that work with people with particular health needs or disabilities.
Grants can fund:
  • new buildings
  • major refurbishment work
  • equipment
  • vehicles
For further information, click here.

Funding Innovative Projects to Tackle Plastic Pollution

Waitrose & Partners, working in partnership with the environmental charity Hubbub, is looking to support a small number of projects over one year starting in April 2019.

Grants of between £150,000 and £300,000 will be awarded to projects that can show they will have a significant measurable impact on plastic pollution.

Projects need to address one of the following challenge areas:

  • Plastics in the community - projects encouraging and enabling plastic recycling and the circular economy linked to social impact.

  • Education - campaigns aimed at children and young people to raise awareness and change behaviour to reduce plastic pollution.

  • Public behaviour change - projects which focus on inspiring and enabling new ways of shopping and living sustainably.

  • Food, agriculture and farming - Focusing on finding alternatives, reducing use, and increasing reuse of plastics in the food, agriculture and farming industries as well as tackling food waste.

  • Microplastics - Projects aimed at identifying the impact, reducing the prevalence and preventing microplastic pollution.

The grant funding is for discrete projects or specific project activity rather than contributing to an organisation's core costs.

Collaborative applications from a range of partners will be welcomed but the lead application must be a registered body and be one of the following:

  • Charity

  • Academic Body

  • Community Interest Company

  • Social Enterprise with a clear charitable mission

  • Schools and Colleges


The deadline for applications is 24 February 2019 (23:59). 

For further information click here

Launch of £20m Storage at Scale Competition for Innovative Large Scale Energy Storage

According to the government, innovative large-scale energy storage will play an important role in decarbonising industry, power, heat and transport.

The Storage at Scale Competition is looking for innovative, replicable solutions which could provide a market competitive alternative to conventional commercial large scale energy storage technologies, for example pumped-hydro or batteries (such as lithium ion, lead acid or sodium-sulphur).

Projects should be at a technology readiness level of 6 or above, which could result in lower capital or operating costs to the traditional storage technologies, or improved capacity, sustainability and response rates at a comparable cost.

Up to £20 million will be available from 2019 to 2021. The competition will support up to three demonstration projects with build completion by March 2021 and operational testing to be completed December 2021.

The competition will consider proposals for pre-commercial innovative large, static electrical energy or power-to-x (eg Hydrogen, Ammonia, Biomethane etc) energy storage facilities.

UK energy businesses of all sizes may submit bids for this competition. Bids may come from project teams (consortia).

The deadline for submitting a registration email is 5pm on 17 April 2019. The deadline to submit a full proposal is 26 April 2019.

For further information click here

Heritage Action Zone
The aim of a Heritage Action Zone is to achieve economic growth by using the historic environment as a catalyst. A Heritage Action Zone will provide a targeted response to the economic, social and environmental needs of a particular area. Through Heritage Action Zones, Historic England will work with local partners to deliver and implement a programme of support that best meets these local requirements.
To be considered for Heritage Action Zone status, an area needs to have significant historic interest, with the potential to make greater use of its heritage to support the social, economic and environmental needs of the place. Areas will be prioritised which deliver economic growth, with a particular focus in 2018 on housing. They encourage community engagement and cross-working across a broad range of partner organisations/groups.  
To apply for Heritage Action Zone status you will need to meet the following criteria:
  • The Heritage Action Zone should be delivered through a partnership, this could consist of public, private and third sector organisations;
  • The Heritage Action Zone should include at least one local authority partner;
  • The Heritage Action Zone should deliver opportunities for sustainable long term growth in historic places;
  • The Heritage Action Zone must be based around local heritage assets, either designated or undesignated;
  • The project should be capable of delivery within three to five years. 
  • The timetable for each individual project as well as the overall Heritage Action Zone programme; 
  • The delivery methods that will be used;
  • The key outputs and outcomes that will be delivered. 
For further information about Heritage Action Zones, or you would like to discuss potential ideas, then please contact your local Historic England office or click here.

Heritage Lottery Funding (HLF)
Sharing heritage

Grants of £3,000 to £10,000 are available to support any not-for-profit group wanting to explore, share and celebrate their community's heritage. Supportable activities include events, exhibitions, festivals, celebrations or producing local history publications.

Our heritage
Grants of £10,000 to £100,000 are available to support all types of heritage projects, for example smaller parks and green spaces, as well as activity projects exploring language cultures and memories.

Heritage grants
Grants of £100,000 to £5m are available for all types of heritage projects.

Heritage enterprise
The heritage enterprise programme aims to support community organisations to stimulate economic growth by rescuing neglected historic buildings and sites and returning them to use.

Grants of between £100,000 and £5 million are available and applicants must make a contribution to the project, which will include the cash value of the asset once the conservation deficit has been calculated.

Projects are expected to create sufficient revenue to provide a reasonable return and enough income for the ongoing and future maintenance and repair of the building.

For further information click here

Grants Available to Restore the UK’s Industrial Heritage 
Grants up to £20,000 are available for the restoration of important industrial buildings, structures, machinery, vehicles and vessels within the UK. Grants can be made to not-for-profit organisations such as trusts, charities and CICs and are for capital funding only. Applications will usually relate to a single, tangible structure or artefact and the grant is to be used as partnership funding, the applicant being in the process of or having already raised matching funding from their own resources, fund raising, or other grant award. The closing date for applications is the 31 March 2019.

For further information click here
 

£866m Investment in Local Housing Projects

The Government has announced that 133 council-led projects across the country will receive funding to support local work that will make housing developments viable and get homes built quicker.

This first wave of funding from the £5 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund will help the development of up to 200,000 new homes by funding key local infrastructure projects including new roads, cycle paths, flood defences and land remediation work, all essential ahead of building the homes.

The Housing Infrastructure Fund is divided into two streams:
  • A Marginal Viability Fund - available to all single and lower tier local authorities in England - to provide a piece of infrastructure funding to get additional sites allocated or existing sites unblocked quickly. Bids can be up to £10 million.
  • A Forward Fund - available to the uppermost tier of local authorities in England - for a small number of strategic and high-impact infrastructure projects. Bids can be up to £250 million.
The government will be progressing Forward Funding projects to go through to co-development with final funding announced from Autumn 2018.

 

Austin and Hope Pilkington Trust Now Accepting Applications for 2019 Round One

The Austin and Hope Pilkington Trust operates a three-year rotation system, offering funding for charitable activities taking place in the UK that directly support the theme selected by the Trustees for that year.

The 2019 theme is Children and Young People, and the Trust is interested in projects focused on:
  • Child exploitation.
  • Mentoring and support.
  • Clubs and activities.
(Within these categories, projects that address mental-health needs will be prioritised.)

In Round One grants of £1,000 are available to registered charities with an operating income of between £100,000 and £1 million. Eligible projects must be related to children aged 0-11 years.

The deadline for applications is 28 February 2019.

For further information click here


2019 Baldwins Kick Start Award Offers £20,000 to Young Entrepreneurs 

Baldwins Kick Start is an annual award programme for young entrepreneurs who have a good idea and would like to start their own business. The programme was established by Baldwins Accountants to find and develop the ‘Youth Entrepreneurs’ of the future. Baldwins hopes to reach those young people who have talent, drive, ambition and ideas but who lack access to the necessary funding and business support needed to start up in enterprise.

The programme has a total budget of £300,000, running over ten years. Each year, the winner of the award will be given a grant of £10,000 coupled with £10,000 worth of mentoring and accountancy advice. Two runners-up will be presented with £5,000 worth of accountancy advice and mentoring.

The scheme is open to young people aged between 18 and 25 who either have an idea and a business plan but are yet to start trading, or a newly founded start-up business where trading commenced on or after 31 August 2018. Applications for the current round close on 31 August 2019.

For further information click here
 
Awaiting update

 

Rural Business Support Guide 2017

The aim of this guide is to help you access the information you need to grow your business. This is not designed to answer all of your questions, but to help sign post you, so you know where to look for further information about what might be suitable for your business.

Rural Business Support Guide 2017
 

Supporting community activity in Bellingham and the North Tyne valley

The Bellingham Fund is a small Community Foundation fund that makes grants in support of community activity in in Bellingham and the North Tyne Valley. The fund primarily provides benefit to the Bellingham community, including Greenhaugh, Lane Head and Greystead areas; support to this community will be prioritised over projects elsewhere in the North Tyne valley.

The minimum grant size is £750 and the maximum is £2,000. Applicants should read the general Community Foundation criteria at http://www.communityfoundation.org.uk/apply/ before applying.  Applicants should provide up to date accounts, a governing document, a copy of a recent bank statement, and copies of organisational policies relating to the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults.

The Northumberland High Sheriff Awards

The fund makes awards in recognition of groups in the community who encourage useful and beneficial pursuits for young people, supporting them to be upstanding citizens and deterred from criminal activities, and/or to positively turn their lives around. Awards are made to voluntary and community groups and registered charities based and working in Northumberland. The project must focus its work with children and young people aged 10 to 25. The application should explain what the organisation does to steer young people away from crime and anti-social behaviour and should also show how they are encouraged to be good citizens, either by volunteering, fundraising or engaging positively in their club and community. Awards also recognise work to support young people to overcome challenging lifestyles or turn their back on negative behaviour as a result of engaging with the group.

For further information click here 

Arts Award Access Fund und Open

The Arts Award Access Fund is designed to help registered Arts Award centres that are experiencing a lack of funds. The programme is active in arts centres, colleges and schools, community projects, libraries, galleries, local authorities, theatres, youth clubs and youth justice settings. Grants of between £100 and £1,500 are available. The grant can be used for the following:
  • Discover, Explore or Bronze logs.
  • Bronze, Silver or Gold guidance booklets.
  • Fees for workshops with a professional or specialist.
  • General art materials, printing costs, etc.
  • Tickets for events.
  • Travel to and from a venue.
  • Contribution towards the costs of Gold leadership projects.
  • Hire of specialist equipment or specialist venue.
  • Adviser/project management/staff time.
  • Discover certificates.
  • Moderation costs for Explore, Bronze, Silver and Gold.
  • Specific access requirements, eg BSL/other translators; assistive technology specifically related to the Arts Award project (where renting is not cost effective).
Applications from all registered Arts Award centres based in England can be considered. The first round for 2019 is now open to applications and closes at 5pm on 1 March 2019.

For further information click here

2019 Print Futures Awards Open to Young Prospective Publishers

The Print Future Awards help young people to fund costs associated with a relevant training course in printing, publishing or the graphic arts. The scheme is supported through funding from the Printing Charity, and a range of partners.

The programme is aimed at young people between the ages of 18 and 30. They may be wishing to train for a job in printing, publishing or the graphic arts, or they could be currently working in these industries and would like the opportunity to develop their skills. They may also be apprentices or otherwise studying for NVQs in print related organisations and require financial assistance whilst studying.

Grants of up to £1,500 are available to contribute towards any costs associated with undertaking a relevant training course in printing, publishing, packaging or graphic arts. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed in London in early June.

The next deadline for applications is 29 April 2019.

For further information click here
This page talks about funding news and searches. The service is free to individuals, community groups and businesses in Northumberland, but you need to register to view them.

GRANTfinder and Northumberland County 4 Community is a user-friendly, accurate and UK wide professional funding tool which has helped users to secure millions of pounds’ worth of support. It is an online, step-by-step process which enables you to identify and select funding schemes and awards that are appropriate to your project:
  • A convenient one-stop-shop of funding information.
  • Information source provided on over 8,000 funding schemes including grants, loans and awards from local, regional and national UK government, European funding, charitable trusts and corporate sponsors.
  • Content ranging from modest community funds at one end of the spectrum to major, multi-level European initiatives at the other.
  • Authoritative reference library of articles on topical funding issues (full subscription only).
  • Newsflash service sending approaching deadlines, news of launched funds and policy decisions direct to your inbox (full subscription only).
  • Information is presented jargon-free and in plain English.
  • Interactive Update Bulletin sent weekly and categorised by subject, keeping you up-to-date on areas of interest to you (full subscription only).
The site also contains access to useful self-help guides, including:
  • 10 steps to writing a constitution
  • a beginner’s guide to regeneration terminology
  • writing a fundraising strategy
  • writing a successful business plan
  • how to write a winning financial plan
You can access GRANTfinder by registering some basic details; Northumberland County Council hosts this service and pays a licence fee, but partners and community users can access the funding search service free of charge using the Council licence.

To register click here: GRANTnet webpage - Northumberland County 4 Community

Other free funding search websites and portals:
Grants Online Local Funding for Northumberland

For further information on Northumberland grants and funding searches, or if you wish to receive our funding bulletin by email, please contact:

David Baird
Tel: 01670 623888
Email: david.baird@northumberland.gov.uk
 
You can view the latest funding eBulletin by following this link: Northumberland Funding eBulletin.
If you are involved in writing funding applications, the Northumberland County Council InfoNet website can provide informative research and statistics. Relevant documents




 
The latest information on funding policies and strategies.

Defra Unveils Draft Environment Bill

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has published the draft Environment (Principles and Governance) Bill, setting out how the UK will maintain environmental standards after Brexit whilst building on the vision of the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan. The Bill was announced by Prime Minister Theresa May in July 2018 and is designed to place environmental ambition and accountability at the heart of government.

Environmental decisions made in the UK – from improving air and water quality to protecting endangered species – are currently overseen by the European Commission and are underpinned by a number of EU principles, including the precautionary principle, sustainable development and the ‘polluter pays’ principle. While these principles are already central to government environmental policy, they are not set out in one place besides the EU treaties.

The draft Bill focuses on three core principles, which set out an ambitious new green governance system, incorporating key clauses on environmental principles and governance that will be part of the wider Environment Bill. The key principles are as follows:

  • Environmental principles: The environmental principles – such as the “polluter pays” principle or that the public should be able to participate in environmental decision-making – are fundamental to achieving the Government’s environmental ambitions. These will act as guiding principles to help protect the environment from damage and will encourage decision-makers to further consider the environment in the development of government policy.

  • The Office for Environmental Protection: A world-leading, green governance body will be established – the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) – to uphold environmental legislation. The OEP will be an independent, statutory environmental body that will hold government and public bodies to account on environmental standards, including taking legal action to enforce the implementation of environmental law where necessary, replacing the current oversight of the European Commission.

  • 25 Year Environment Plan: The draft Bill proposes making it a legal requirement for government to have a plan for improving the environment, to monitor and report annually to Parliament on progress and update it at least every five years. The 25 Year Environment Plan would become the first such plan, giving it the status and permanence to deliver on the Bill’s goals.


This draft Bill comes ahead of a full Environment Bill to be introduced in 2019. This Bill will contain specific measures to tackle ongoing environmental issues, including: cleaning up the air; restoring and enhancing nature; improving waste management and resource efficiency; and managing water resources better. It will also contain measures to improve human health and wellbeing.

Heritage Lottery Fund Changes its Funding for Places of Worship in England

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has issued a statement that from September 2017 it will no longer be providing funding for places of worship through its Grants for Places of Worship programme. Instead, HLF funding will be provided through the existing Our Heritage (grants of up to £100,000) and Heritage Grants (up to £5 million) programmes.

According to HLF, the changes are as follows:
  • Introduction of a faster, single-stage application for grants up to £100,000, rather than the old two-stage process under Grants for Places of Worship.
  • Greater flexibility, allowing for a wider range of activities and capital works than under the current scheme, although projects that have a focus on much-needed repairs will still be welcomed.
  • 100% of works and activities can be funded with no requirement for partnership funding.
  • 50% of the grant will be paid up front which will help the applicant’s cash flow.
For larger schemes, more money will be available for individual places of worship. The Grants for Places of Worship awards were limited to £250,000 per application. Under Heritage Grants, applicants can apply for up to £5 million per application, and can receive help to develop their final proposals between the first and second rounds.

Places of worship have two more opportunities to submit applications to the Grants for Places of Worship scheme before it closes to new applications on 1 September 2017.

The remaining deadlines for new application are 15 May 2017 and 14 August 2017.
 
As part of the Government’s decarbonisation strategy, a delivery unit to support local authorities exploring heat network opportunities was established in 2013. This innovative support unit, the Heat Networks Delivery Unit (HNDU), combines grant funding with guidance from a dedicated team of commercial and technical specialists with a wealth of experience in developing heat networks. All local authorities in England and Wales can apply for support and this document sets out the Unit’s offering to local authorities and provides all information a local authority would need to bid for this support in Round 7.

For further information click here

Light Rail (and other rapid transit solutions)

The Department for Transport (DfT) has launched this call for evidence to gather views on how to better use and implement light rail and other rapid transit solutions in cities and towns. The exercise aims to increase understanding of the role light rail systems and other systems, including very light rail, ultra-light rail and other automated guided transit systems, can play in the future of urban mobility.

The term “light rail” covers a range of different systems, the most familiar being trams. The call for evidence distinguishes between tram-train, tram and very or ultra-light rail, but in general they are public transport systems which use rail-based technologies and typically operate in urban settings. The vehicles are usually lightweight, run on steel rails and are propelled by overhead electrical wires.

The call for evidence is specifically inviting views on how to better harness the opportunities for building on the popularity of light rail; and build the nation’s manufacturing and engineering capacity. The ambition is to provide more environmentally-friendly, accessible and modern options for passengers. It also aims to discover how future schemes can integrate seamlessly with new trends, such as autonomous vehicles, in addition to buses, cycling and walking. It also extends to considering the need to look at how industrial capacity can be developed for a new generation of light rail and related systems in line with Government’s industrial strategy.

All those with an interest in introducing new light rail systems or alternative rapid transit systems in cities and towns are invited to reply to the call. A summary of responses, including the next steps, will be published within three months of the close of the consultation. DfT will analyse the responses, and may publish proposals in due course.

For further information click here
This report describes the landscape of business incubators and accelerators in the UK, exploring the scale and distribution, both geographically and sectorally. Both accelerators and incubators aim to support young firms through the early and fragile stages of growth.

For further information click here
Government sets out proposals for the future relationship between the UK and the EU.
The Government has published its long-awaited Brexit strategy White Paper: The Future Relationship Between the United Kingdom and the European Union. Described as 'a detailed proposal for a principled and practical Brexit', the aim of the White Paper is to explain how the UK Government’s proposed future relationship between the UK and the EU would work, what benefits it would deliver for both sides, and why it would respect the sovereignty of the UK as well as the autonomy of the EU.
The document sets out the Government's proposals along five main areas of focus: the economy; communities; the union; democracy; and the UK’s place in the world. Key points include the following:
  • Establishment of a free trade area for goods between the UK and EU, ensuring continued frictionless access at the border to each other’s markets. This would see the UK and the EU meet their shared commitments to Northern Ireland and Ireland, and avoid the need for a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.
  • A common rulebook for goods including agri-food, covering only those rules necessary to provide for frictionless trade at the border – meaning that the UK would make an upfront choice to commit by treaty to ongoing harmonisation with the relevant EU rules.
  • Participation by the UK in EU agencies that provide authorisations for goods in highly regulated sectors – namely the European Chemicals Agency, the European Aviation Safety Agency, and the European Medicines Agency – accepting the rules of these agencies and contributing to their costs.
  • A new Facilitated Customs Arrangement that would remove the need for customs checks and controls between the UK and the EU as if they were a combined customs territory.
  • A new framework that 'respects the UK’s control of its borders' and enables UK and EU citizens to continue to travel to each other’s countries, and businesses and professionals to provide services.
  • A security partnership that includes maintaining existing operational capabilities that the UK and the EU deploy to protect their citizens’ security, and participation by the UK in key agencies, including Europol and Eurojust.
  • Establishing cooperative accords for science and innovation, culture and education, development and international action, defence research and development, and space, so that the UK and the EU can continue to work together in these areas, including through EU programmes, with the UK making an appropriate financial contribution.
The North of Tyne Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) is a recently established Community-Led Local Development (CLLD) project funded by through the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) and the Department of Environment, Food and Rural affairs (Defra). The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is the Intermediate Body for delivery of the programme and Northumberland County Council is the Lead Partner.
 
The programme was launched 16 March 2017 at the Old Low Light building at North Shields Fish Quay where the first FLAG board meeting took place and the Chairman and Vice-Chairman were elected and other board members enrolled.
 

The original £600k grant funding available to projects within the FLAG area which comprises of fourteen coastal settlements covering approximately sixty-five miles from North Shields to Berwick-upon-Tweed, has now been reduced with the approval of four projects with many more projects in development. Further information is available on the FLAG webpage.

http://www.northumberland.gov.uk/Partners/North-of-Tyne-Fisheries-Local-Action-Group.aspx

 
Expressions of Interest applications are now being invited for the following priorities:
  • Development of small scale infrastructure at ports and harbours
  • Marketing, branding and processing
  • Training, retention, recruitment, diversification and Common Fisheries Policy reform
  • Collaborative and applied research between fishermen and scientists.
If you would like any further advice, information or an application form please contact the FLAG, Programme Officer, Simon Baxter, Tel: 01665 623919, Mob: 07825 121778, Email: simon.baxter@northumberland.gov.uk
In 2011, Mary Portas was asked by the government to carry out a review of the problems faced by high streets and town centres.

The Portas Review was published in 2011, with recommendations of how to ‘kick start our high streets.’ In April 2012, local government minister Grant Shapps announced a £1.2 million high street innovation fund for 12 areas, with each area receiving funding of £100,000.
The funding programme is now closed to new applications
Newbiggin town team became one of the first 12 Portas pilots in May 2012. The team received £94,300 of Portas money, which was matched by £100,000 from the council.

With further funding secured from Newbiggin Town Council, Rio-Tinto and the Arts Council, the team has more than doubled the project budget to £248,300.

As well as funding, the team received packages of support from national government and local authorities.

The team’s tier one group have approved and delivered various activities including:
  • marketing and branding initiatives
  • festivals and events
  • shop improvement
  • the youth arts pilot
If you live or work in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea and want to contribute to future developments, you can attend one of their tier two community meetings which are usually held quarterly.
In July 2012, Berwick’s town team, supported by Berwick Town Council, became one of a further 15 towns to win £100,000. It helped to regenerate the town’s high street, along with funds matched by Northumberland County Council for a further £100,000.
 
A number of activities have been funded to date, such as the Lowry exhibition, the establishment of a pop-up-shop (Serendipity) and new signs at Berwick’s railway station.

The town council is now leading on delivery of the Portas pilot (completion expected March 2016), supported by Northumberland County Council officers and the Department of Communities and Local Government.
In August 2012, MPs were invited to liaise with town teams who had been unsuccessful in the first two Portas rounds. They wanted to endorse them to come forward as a town team partner. These partners could access funding of £10,000 and a support package from the Association of Town Centre Management.

In October 2012, 326 partners were announced nationally, including:
  • Alnwick
  • Amble
  • Ashington
  • Morpeth
  • Blyth
  • Cramlington
  • Prudhoe
This scheme is no longer open for applications.

Northumberland County Council is the area’s accountable body for Portas funds.

For further information contact:

Tracey Armstrong
Tel: 01670 623873
Email: tracey.armstrong@northumberland.gov.uk
This page gives information about the North East rural growth network.

The national Rural Growth Network has specific funding and expertise available for businesses located in rural locations, to help generate rural economic growth.

The North East Rural Growth Network is one of five regional growth networks across England, covering Northumberland, Durham and Gateshead  and are part of a national programme launched by the Government, aimed at stimulating economic growth in rural businesses and communities. 

Between 2012 and 2015 £15 million was allocated nationally from DEFRA to support Rural Growth Networks to deliver proposals aimed at helping rural areas overcome barriers to growth, such as poor infrastructure, scarcity of business premises and lack of business networks.

The North East Rural Growth Network delivered a programme of pilot initiatives between 2012-2015, which has been highly successful. With a funding allocation of £3.2m it has helped around 200 new businesses to establish themselves within rural areas; assisted more than 1,000 businesses with either financial support of business advice; created more than 100 new enterprise spaces at 13 business hub sites across the rural North East. 

 RGN Capital Grants - NOW CLOSED

 
Click the following link to read the DEFRA evaluation report of the Rural Growth Network (RGN) Pilot initiative May 2016: 

14275-Defra-RGN-Final-evaluation-Final-Report-19-May-2016-v3
The term ‘state aid’ refers to a form of public-funded assistance used to support organisations or businesses. State aid rules have been designed to prevent the use of this support in ways that distort competition and free trade in the EU.

The treaty on the functioning of the European Union defines state aid as any aid granted by a member state or through state resources which distorts, or threatens to distort, competition by favouring certain undertakings that could affect trade.

The commission has said that state aid can include:
  • grants direct subsidies
  • tax exemptions
  • preferential interest rates
  • loans, guarantees and provision of goods or services on preferential terms
  • indemnities against losses
  • contracts not open to competitive tendering
  • tax relief
Please note: this list is not exhaustive.

The rules restrict the support the public sector can give organisations that operate in a commercial or economic environment. They don’t apply to the whole sector, only where support could inhibit fair competition with other businesses.

Some aid is illegal under EU rules because it distorts competition in a way that is harmful to the EU. But where it is unavoidable, state aid can be given legally by using a set of approved EU mechanisms for state aid, such as:
  • compliance with de minimis regulation
  • compliance with a block exemption regulation
Not all public funding is necessarily state aid. It is present when a scheme meets all the criteria listed in Article 107 of the treaty of the function of the European Union (TFEU).

If your answer to all four of these following questions is “yes,” your assistance is almost certainly state aid. If some of your answers are “no” then aid may not be present. If you are unsure, seek legal advice.

1. Is the assistance granted by the state or through state resources?
‘Granted by the state’ means by any public or private body controlled by the state (in the UK, this means national or local government). ‘State resources’ can include tax exemptions, lottery funding and EU structural funds over which the state has significant control.

2. Does the assistance give an advantage to one or more undertakings over others?
An ‘undertaking’ is any organisation engaged in economic activity. This is about activity rather than legal form, so non-profit organisations, charities and public bodies can all be undertakings, depending on their activities.

Support to an organisation engaged in a non-economic activity isn’t state aid, e.g. support to individuals through the social security system. This can also include operators and ‘middlemen’ if they benefit from funding ‘economic activity’ means putting goods or services on a market.

It is not necessary to make a profit to be engaged in economic activity. If others in the market offer the same goods or services, it is an economic activity.

An ‘advantage’ can take many forms. It’s not just a grant, loan or tax break but also the use of a state asset for free or less than market price. Essentially, it is something an undertaking could not get normally.

3. Does the assistance distort or have the potential to distort competition?
If the assistance strengthens the recipient relative to its competitors, then the answer is likely to be ‘yes.’ The ‘potential to distort competition’ does not have to be substantial or significant. It may include relatively small amounts of financial support and firms with a modest market share.

4. Does the assistance affect trade between member states?
The interpretation of this is broad, as it is enough that a product or service is tradable between member states, even if the recipient itself does not export to other EU markets.

Aid given illegally has far reaching consequences:
  • If the EU Commission investigate and find aid incompatible with the treaty, you will have to recover with interest, regardless of consequences or difficulty.
  • Even if aid is found to be compatible with the treaty (approvable), interest for the period it wasn’t notified may still have to be recovered.
  • If you get it wrong, it is those you want to help who will suffer the most.
  • A competitor could take you to court in the UK and seek damages. 
De minimis
The de minimis regulation is a useful EU mechanism for state aid, based on the commission’s view that small amounts of aid are unlikely to distort competition. The regulation allows small amounts of aid – less than €200,000 during three fiscal years – to be given for a wide range of purposes. If you use this you don’t need to notify or get approval, but records of aid granted must be kept and all rules of the regulation must be followed.

State aid modernisation (SAM)
In May 2012, the European Commission set out an ambitious state aid reform programme. The modernisation has three main, closely linked objectives:
  • foster growth in a strengthened, dynamic and competitive internal market
  • focus enforcement on cases with the biggest impact on the internal market
  • streamlined rules and faster decisions
The European Commission has now adopted the long-awaited replacement for the 2008 general block exemption regulation (universally known as GBER).

New GBER and regional aid regulations
The purpose of regional state aid is to support economic development and employment. The regional aid guidelines set out the rules under which member states can grant aid to companies to support investments in new production facilities in advantaged regions of Europe or to extend/ modernise existing facilities.

State aids

An-introduction-to-assisted-areas
bis-14-768-uk-assisted-areas-2014-2020-amended-23-may
bis-14-943-state-aid-general-block-exemption-guidance
New-GBER

Certain categories of state aid can only be granted within assisted areas that fulfill the conditions of Article 107(3)(a) of the TFEU. For the purpose of the new state aid regulations, the assisted areas map for Northumberland has been updated and can be found here.

The BIS state aid manual
The attached manual is intended to assist public sector officials understand the state aid rules, show how they apply in practice and explain that it’s not a substitute for the official documentation available from the EU Commission.

BIS state aid manual: BIS-15-148-state-aid-manual


Commission to prolong EU State aid rules and launch evaluation

The European Commission plans to prolong for two years seven sets of State aid rules, otherwise expiring in 2020. The Commission has also launched today an evaluation of those rules and of other State aid rules to assess whether to further prolong them or possibly update them in the future.

Since May 2012, the Commission has implemented a major reform of EU State aid rules, the State Aid Modernisation. This allows Member States to quickly implement State aid that fosters investment, economic growth and job creation, leaving the Commission to focus its State aid control on the cases most liable to distort competition. More than 97% of all State aid measures are now implemented by Member States without the need for prior approval by the Commission. As part of the State Aid Modernisation, the Commission has revised a considerable number of State aid rules since 2013.

A number of the State aid rules adopted as part of the State Aid Modernisation are due to expire by the end of 2020. Other State aid rules adopted as part of the Modernisation process have no fixed expiry date. To provide predictability and legal certainty, whilst preparing for a possible future update of the State aid rules adopted as part of the State Aid Modernisation, theCommission will take two steps.

First, the Commission intends to prolong for two years (until end 2022) the validity of those State aid rules, which would otherwise expire by end 2020. They are the following:
  •         General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER)
  •         De minimis Regulation
  •         Guidelines on regional State aid
  •         Guidelines on State aid to promote risk finance investments
  •         Guidelines on State aid for environmental protection and energy
  •         Guidelines on State aid for rescuing and restructuring
  •         Communication on important projects of common European interest (IPCEI).
Second, in line with the Commission's Better Regulation Guidelines, the Commission will evaluate those rules together with the other State aid rules, which were adopted as part of the State Aid Modernisation. The evaluation was launched today. It takes the form of a “fitness check”. It will provide a basis for decisions, to be taken by the Commission in the future, about whether to further prolong or possibly update the rules. The evaluation will cover the following rules, all of which were adopted as part of the State Aid Modernisation:
  • General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER)
  • De minimis Regulation
  • Guidelines on regional State aid
  • Framework for State aid for research and development and innovation (RDI)
  • Communication on important projects of common European interest (IPCEI)
  • Guidelines on State aid to promote risk finance investments
  • Guidelines on State aid to airports and airlines
  • Guidelines on State aid for environmental protection and energy
  • Guidelines on State aid for rescuing and restructuring
The “fitness check” will also cover the Railways Guidelines from 2008 and the Short term export credit Communication from 2012. Those rules were not revised as part of the State Aid Modernisation, but an evaluation is relevant in the light of developments in EU law and the Commission's case practice. 

The “fitness check” will involve internal analyses by the Commission and public consultations as well as, in some cases, studies prepared by external consultants or targeted consultations of specific stakeholders. The results of the exercise will be summarised in a Commission Staff Working Document.

Background
Under the Better Regulation Guidelines, the Commission evaluates if specific laws, policies and spending activities are fit for purpose and have delivered, at minimum cost, the desired changes to European businesses and citizens. The evaluation findings help the Commission decide whether EU actions should be continued or changed.

More specifically, fitness checks assess whether the regulatory framework for a policy sector is “fit for purpose”. Their goal is to assess the effectiveness, efficiency, coherence, relevance and EU added value of specific parts of the EU acquis, thus promoting better/smart legislation, making it more responsive to current and future challenges and helping improve implementation. This includes identifying excessive administrative burdens, overlaps, gaps, inconsistencies and/or obsolete measures that may have appeared over time, and considering the cumulative impact of EU legislation and activities. Their findings serve as a basis for drawing policy conclusions on how well EU policies have been performing and feed into possible consideration on the future of the relevant regulatory framework.



UK State Aid proposals post BREXIT: UK state aid and competition policy proposals post BREXIT

For further information on state aids, please contact David Baird on 01670 623888.
Please note: we are unable to give specific advice on individual cases.


 
The RGN - Local Growth Fund awarded to Northumberland County Council is a notified scheme. The following is a list of all those projects awarded GBER state aid within the notification period:  
Project name Amount of aid
£
State aid mechanism
The Sill; National Landscape Discovery Centre
1,000,000
GBER Article 53
The Thinford Development
223,881
GBER Article 56
Wansbeck Business Park - New Industrial Estate 186,934 GBER Article 56
Hownsgill Park Industrial Workshop Development 358,968 GBER Article 56
     
LEADER is a 'bottom-up,' community-led approach to delivering rural and community economic development through the rural development programme for England, managed by the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Rural Payments Agency (RPA).

General Information
There are six national LEADER priorities:
  • support micro and small businesses and farm diversification
  • boost rural tourism
  • increase farm productivity
  • increase forestry productivity
  • provide rural services
  • provide cultural and heritage activities
From early summer 2015, the LEADER programme will provide grants to rural small to medium enterprises, farmers, foresters and projects that create jobs and grow the rural economy.

70% of the available funding to local action groups will be used for measures designed to directly support the creation of jobs and economic growth and the remaining 30% to indirectly support this.

The main benefits of the LEADER approach are:
  • local people have a better knowledge of their areas and what’s available
  • they are able to organise local resources in a way that ‘top-down’ approaches cannot
  • it gives local people a greater sense of ownership and commitment to the projects
  • it helps develop trust and positive working relationships among locals
Local action groups (LAGs)
LAGs bring together individuals who, through agreed local development strategies, can tackle local priorities in specific, innovative and participative ways.

In this new programme, Northumberland has two LAGs: Northumberland coast and lowlands and Northumberland uplands. A third LAG, North Pennine Dales, covers parts of South Tynedale and rural Northumberland south of the A69.

Northumberland County Council acts as the accountable body for the first two programmes, while Durham County Council accounts for North Pennine Dales. The council is the host employer for staff, supports the groups and also provides administrative and management support to enable delivery of these programmes. 

Project applications
There will be two stages in the process: an outline application and a full application. These are assessed at both stages and only the strongest will be successful. 

LEADER programme officers will liaise with applicants to discuss their project and support them in developing an outline application. This will be considered by the groups to confirm eligibility and strategic fit with their local development strategy.

If successful at the first stage, the applicant will be invited to complete and submit a full application and supporting business case.

Full applications will undergo a technical appraisal by the accountable body, with each action group then making a decision on which projects they will fund based on the project’s eligibility within the LEADER programme and, additionally, value for money and the project fit with each group’s development strategy.
The timescale from application to approval and contracting is typically several months.

Contacts
The 2014-2020 LEADER programme in Northumberland is not quite ready to receive funding applications yet but further information is available from:

Northumberland Coast and Lowlands LEADER
Ivan Hewitt
Tel: 01670 623927
Email: ivan.hewitt@northumberland.gov.uk

Northumberland Uplands LEADER
Gillian Cowell
Tel: 01670 623885
Email: gillian.cowell@northumberland.gov.uk

Northumberland Uplands LEADER is currently looking for people to join the LAG who wish to share their skills, knowledge and experience in any of the above priority areas.

As a LAG member you will be actively involved in setting the strategic direction of the programme, monitoring activity against the local development scheme, managing the approval process of applications and procuring strategic projects. Attendance at monthly LAG meetings would be required.  

We are particularly interested in hearing from volunteers who have experience in farming, forestry and tourism – and also people who fall within the 18 to 30 age group.
 
If you are interested in being considered as a LAG member, please request more detailed information on the application process by emailing: gillian.cowell@northumberland.gov.uk
 
Northumberland Coast and Lowlands LEADER has recently been awarded £1.985m from Defra and the rural development programme for England.

This will support projects contributing to the rural economic growth within the coast and lowlands area of rural Northumberland, running from the Scottish border in the north, including Berwick, Alnwick and Morpeth, through to Stannington.

The aims of the Northumberland coast and lowlands LEADER local development strategy (LDS) are:
  • to support strong and sustainable rural economic growth throughout the Northumberland coast and lowlands area in ways which reflect the area’s local priorities
  • engage local people and businesses
  • build more resilient communities
  • conserve a high quality landscape and environment
Activity will be delivered against the local identified priorities of:
  • rural business farming
  • forestry rural tourism
  • culture and heritage rural services
Northumberland coast and lowlands LEADER is currently looking for people to join the local action group who wish to share their skills, knowledge and experience in any of the above areas.

There will be two levels of membership: group forum members and group executive members. Membership will comprise of a wide range of community, voluntary, public and private sector representatives.

This level of membership will act as a communication channel between communities and the group executive. An annual forum event will be held, giving members the opportunity to demonstrate the value of LEADER.

If you wish to become a forum member, please email your name, organisation (if appropriate) and contact address, including postcode, contact number and email address, to: christine.stevenson@northumberland.gov.uk.

Applications to the forum can be accepted anytime.

Executive membership will allow representatives to be actively involved in setting the strategic direction of the programme, monitoring activity, managing the approval process of applications and procuring strategic projects. Attendance at monthly meetings is required.

If you’re interested in being considered as an executive member, please request more detailed information on the application process by emailing: ivan.hewitt@northumberland.gov.uk

Please note that applications for the LAG executive are now closed.
Information on funding for outdoor sport and play using section 106 housing developer contributions.

Section 106 agreements are sometimes entered into with housing developers to fund sport and play in some areas of Northumberland. The money collection method is based on current planning documentation from the former districts.

This documentation remains in place until the new local development framework is introduced. This means the amounts collected and the items/projects on which the money can be spent can vary.
The council is keen to see the development and improvement of children's play and outdoor sports and recreation facilities. In most of Northumberland, S106 money is collected based on individual agreements for precise amounts for a specifically agreed purpose.

However, in certain areas of Northumberland (south east, former Tynedale and parts of the north), funds are collected and may be spent in specific geographical areas on a variety of sports, play and recreation projects.

What can be funded?
The funding is for items only for children's play areas or outdoor sports facilities, plus some indoor sports and recreation facilities in areas of the north. The funding is for new facilities or improvements to existing ones, for example:
  • new children's play areas
  • new sports pitches/areas
  • new equipment in an existing play area
  • upgrading of facilities for outdoor sports such as changing rooms
  • Specialised sports equipment, eg cricket roller
Projects must be within specified locations and be open to the general public.

Who can apply?
Projects must be located in specific geographical areas and applications can be made by not-for-profit organisations, such as:
  • community groups
  • residents' associations
  • sports clubs
  • schools
Individuals or businesses are not eligible for funding. Where a local sports club or school is looking to develop or improve facilities, it needs to include appropriate arrangements for wider community use.

How much funding is available?
The level of funding available will depend upon the amounts collected at the time and requests from other projects in the same area. This means funding can be limited and sometimes there will be no funding available.

How can I apply for funding?
  • Applications for funding can be made by completing the S106 Housing Developer Fund Application Form. The application form and accompanying guidance notes and application completion supporting notes can be downloaded from the useful links section.
Applications will be considered by a cross officer panel, which will meet according to the timetable below, and which will make recommendations for approval (applications of more than £100k will be subject to a longer approval process).
Upcoming Housing Developer Fund Panels 2018-2019
 
Panel date meeting Deadline for receipt of applications  Result of application by:
Tuesday, 5th March 2019 Friday, 15th February 2019 Friday, 29th March 2019
Tuesday, 4th June 2019 Friday, 17th May 2019 Friday, 28th June 2019
Tuesday, 3rd September 2019 Friday, 16th August 2019 Friday, 27th September 2019
Tuesday, 5th December 2019 Friday, 15th November 2019 Friday, 27th December 2019
Tuesday, 3rd March 2020 Friday, 14th February 2020 Friday, 27th March 2020
Information on obtaining clothing grants and vouchers.

Northumberland County Council is unable to provide financial assistance towards the purchase of school clothing. Schools offer services for families unable to buy uniforms all in one go by:
  • providing a long or short-term clothing loan
  • recycling essential items like blazers, ties and jumpers
  • helping with funding for struggling families
  • directing you to the nearest best value store
Contact your child’s school for more information.
Community chest schemes give local organisations a chance to bid for funding.

Our aim is to support voluntary and community groups and organisations to deliver activities which contribute to achieving the council’s ambition of maintaining and creating sustainable communities.

Learn more about the scheme and how to apply here.