The Corporate Director Communities presented a report which sought permission for Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC) to enter into a regional Relationship Agreement relating to funding and delivery of the Connect Engage Listen Transform (CELT) Project, funded through the UK Government Community Renewal Fund (CRF) with various Local Authorities in Wales.
She explained that the ending of the European Social Fund (ESF) during 2022 and 2023 had created a need to replace funding especially that which focused on employability. The 10 Local Authorities who form the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) had been working as a Local Authority Cluster Group to discuss new funding opportunities which could replace the ESF employability funding.
She advised that the UK Government created a new fund called the Community Renewal Fund (CRF) and working together all the local authorities that form the CCR developed the CELT project which was submitted by Torfaen County Borough Council (TCBC) on behalf of the CCR to UK Government on the 18th June 2021. The BCBC element of the project requested £274,817 from the CRF based on outcomes of working with 140 clients and to get 26 into employment in the Bridgend County Borough area. Further background was at section 3 of the report.
The Corporate Director Communities explained that on the 4th November 2021 TCBC received confirmation from UK Government that the CELT application was successfully approved. At the point that TCBC consolidated the CCR bid, different outcomes were submitted against the BCBC request for funding. A new set of negotiated targets from those identified in 3.4 have been agreed and will be reflected in the Relationship Agreement. Details of this were in Table 1 of the report.
She alluded to the need for an Operational Delivery Group, which required a representative from each Local Authority. It was proposed that the Employability and Enterprise Manager be nominated to represent BCBC on the CELT Strategic Management Board and that the Employability Team Leader be nominated to represent BCBC on the CELT Operational Delivery Group.
The Corporate Director Communities highlighted the financial implications and stated that the CELT project was fully funded by UK Government with no requirement by BCBC for match funding. The Relationship Agreement will set out the detail of BCBC’s allocated project funding (£274,817)
The Leader mentioned that there were a number of initiaves in place already, however they were all through the employability programme. He asked that there was no risk of duplication or the chance that people would fall through any gaps. The Corporate Director Communities confirmed that this was separate although it sat within the employability section it was a complimentary scheme to the work that was already done. She added that it may be more meaningful to people who were already in the current schemes.
The Cabinet Member Communities welcomed the report and it was pleasing to see the scheme fully funded by UK Government. He added that it has come at a time where it is much needed due to the effects of the Pandemic on people’s employment and the difficulties in getting into new employment and so these schemes have proven to be beneficial to individuals and also their families.
The Cabinet Member Education and Regeneration seconded these comments and added that the team had come a long way over the years and unifying these services will help particularly younger people who need the additional support to get into meaningful employment.
RESOLVED: That Cabinet:
Agreed that the Employability and Enterprise Manager would represent BCBC on the CELT Strategic Management Board and that the Employability Team Leader would represent BCBC on the CELT Operational Delivery Group.