Rural Norfolk and north Suffolk organisations set to benefit from funding pot

16 June 2017

Norfolk and Suffolk’s rural businesses will benefit from a new skills and employability programme thanks to a successful bid for funding by Norfolk County Council on behalf of five Local Action Groups (LAGs) across the area.

Funded by the European Social Fund, Local Investment in Future Talent (LIFT) is a grant scheme seeking applications from community-based organisations in Norfolk and north Suffolk who can deliver targeted employment and skills support in rural areas.

LIFT is being managed by the Economic Development team at Norfolk County Council with the final decision on applications being made by the LAGs whose members are drawn from across local communities and who are already delivering £9m LEADER funding to local businesses.

Cllr Keith Kiddie, Chairman of Norfolk County Council’s Business and Property Committee, said: “This funding is a real boost for rural Norfolk and will help voluntary sector organisations and training providers to be highly responsive to localised needs at market town or even village level.

“Although unemployment is relatively low at the moment, there are still many people in Norfolk who face multiple challenges to securing employment and who could really benefit from effective targeted support at a local level. The project will also help us build employee skills in rural businesses, supporting businesses to grow and individuals to develop their careers.”

The three-year scheme is split into three strands, each of which has been allocated a share of the grants available:

LIFT Jobs - enables organisations to engage with individuals who face barriers to work and move them into, or closer to, employment. Eligible activity might include work with unemployed people to secure sustainable work, and careers advice and help to those not currently seeking work but who, with the right support, could fill a local skills gap.

LIFT Trials - helps organisations deliver tailored support for businesses so that they are able to offer a range of work experience to individuals who have limited or no workplace experience.

LIFT Skills - assists organisations to deliver personalised support for people employed in rural businesses who need help to access skills training to progress their careers and meet the needs of their employer.

Grants from £5,000 to around £50,000 are available. All projects will need to secure 50% of their costs, either from other non-EU funding sources or their own resources. South Norfolk and Broadland District Councils have committed match funding which applicants can apply for.

Training organisations, voluntary sector bodies and relevant businesses are being invited to find out more about the funding opportunities available through LIFT at the launch event being held at The Green Britain Centre in Swaffham on Monday 26 June from 2pm. The event is free to attend but please book your place at www.norfolk.gov.uk/LIFT


Emma Taylor, LIFT Project Manager at Norfolk County Council, said: “We’re excited to be launching LIFT and would encourage organisations to come along to the launch to find out more about the fund and how to apply.

“We’re particularly keen to speak to organisations that already work in rural communities in Norfolk and north Suffolk and have a track record of delivering employability support and/ or bespoke training in the workplace.”

Notes to editors

LIFT (Local investment in Future Talent) is funded by the European Social Fund.  

The Local Action Groups are local grassroots community committees which already allocate grant funding under the LEADER programme, part of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) delivered via Defra. In the UK this fund is managed by the Rural Payments Agency and distributed via the Rural Development Programme (RDPE) for England.

LEADER ("Liaison Entre Actions de Développement de l'Économie Rurale", meaning 'Links between the rural economy and development actions') is a ‘bottom-up’ approach which enlists the energy and resources of local people who come together as an empowered group to develop an area.

More information on the Local Action Groups can be found at: www.norfolklags.co.uk

For political comment

Cllr Keith Kiddie (Conservative), Chair of the Business and Property Committee, on 01379 644750
Cllr Colleen Walker (Labour) on 01493 782272
Cllr John Timewell (Lib Dem) on 07717 881857

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