By Daniel Hunter
From maintaining and developing tourism infrastructure, to supporting coastal social enterprises, organisations in seaside towns across Wales are encouraged to take their share of a multi-million pound fund, designed to boost the economic development of coastal communities.
Following two successful years, the UK Government has announced that the pot for the next round of the Coastal Communities Fund (CCF) will increase to £29million. It has also extended the scheme to 2015/16 so that even more communities from across the UK can bid for a share of the pot for growth boosting seaside town initiatives.
In Wales, coastal communities will be able to access £1.55million of funding to support new opportunities that can make their towns prosper.
Funding awards of over £50,000 are available for projects lasting up to two years, such as those that support charities, improve skills or safeguard the environment. Projects are chosen on their ability to support sustainable growth and jobs in coastal communities.
Seaside towns across Wales have already received a big cash boost for projects that have helped to sustain and create jobs and bring new business opportunities in their communities. Last year, projects such as Bay Leisure in Swansea and the Coastal Hawks project in Conwy were amongst five successful bids across Wales to receive funding.
Wales Office Minister, Baroness Jenny Randerson said: "From developing a falconry centre in Conwy to the funding of marketing and activity project related to the restoration of Penarth Pier Pavilion, the Coastal Communities Fund has already made a huge difference to small communities across Wales.
"We must continue to take full advantage of the opportunities we have to turn our seaside towns into year-round success stories. I hope many more coastal community projects in Wales will put forward their own creative proposals to tap into this fund, and help create jobs and boost skills that will benefit the whole community."
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said: "The Coastal Communities Fund is giving our seaside towns and villages a real chance to grow as the nation benefits from our marine resources. We asked projects to be creative and they met the challenge - in year one, each of the 51 projects that received funding was a unique response to the challenges in that area, from creating a modern harbour on the Island of Barra, to regeneration of the historic North York railway, and making Wadebridge in Cornwall Britain’s first solar powered town.
"The Fund will support around 5000 jobs and has created hundreds of opportunities for local apprentices in new charitable, entrepreneurial or social enterprise schemes. Growing marine revenues from the Crown Estate have allowed us to increase the fund by five per cent and I urge projects to get their bids ready for Round 3 when it opens next year. The Government created the Fund to enable coastal areas to share in the gains from our marine resources, and that is exactly what it is doing."
Join us on