UK Community Renewal Fund

Please note - This fund is now closed. A shortlist has been submitted to Government and we wait to hear the result.

A funding opportunity to shape the future

What is the fund about?

The UK government is making funding available during 2021/22 to support COVID-19 recovery, growing local economies and breathing new life into our communities. The fund will support pilot projects which will empower places to explore how best to tackle local challenges such as:

  • building skills,
  • supporting local businesses,
  • supporting communities and places,
  • or providing employment support, and
  • removing barriers that people face in accessing skills and local labour market opportunities.


Southend-on-Sea City Council is seeking bids from organisations wishing to deliver activity as part of the UK Community Renewal Fund.

Please read the UK Community Renewal Fund Prospectus and the UK Community Fund Technical Note for Project Applicants and Deliverers before starting work on a bid. They are available online.

The Prospectus provides detailed information on the objectives of the Fund, the types of projects it intends to support and how it operates, including the process and selection criteria that will be used to assess bids.

Successful UK Community Renewal Fund bids will be for 2021/22 only and activity must end in March 2022.


To help local areas prepare for the introduction of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, the UK Government is providing £220m of funding in 2021/22 through the UK Community Renewal Fund. We are interested in bids that build on local insight and knowledge, and project proposals that align with long-term strategic plans for local growth, target people most in need and support community renewal. In addition, projects should show how they complement other national and local provision. A focus for this Fund is to support innovation and new ideas in these areas, investing in pilots that draw on local insights and which will help places to prepare for the introduction of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in 2022.

Southend-on-Sea City Council has been designated as a lead authority by the UK Government. As a lead authority, Southend on Sea City Council is responsible for:

  • issuing this invitation
  • receiving bids
  • selecting the bids that will be sent to UK Government for consideration
  • paying grants to successful projects and manging their performance

Full details of the role of lead authorities can be found in the UK Community Renewal Fund Prospectus.

What type of bids are we looking for?

Projects must deliver activity that is line with the UK Community Renewal Fund Prospectus and align with at least one of these investment priorities:

  • Investment in skills
  • Investment for local business
  • Investment in communities and place
  • Supporting people into employment

The UK Government anticipates supporting a range of projects by theme and size, but applicants are encouraged to maximise impact and deliverability through larger projects (£500,000+) where this is possible.

As 90% of funding available through the UK Community Renewal Fund is revenue funding and only available in 2021/22, projects should be predominantly, or exclusively revenue based. Projects that focus predominantly on the construction or major refurbishment of buildings, the purchase of land or the purchase of large pieces of equipment will not be supported.

The UK Community Renewal Fund will also provide Lead Authorities with funding to be used towards the costs incurred in managing Fund awards. A flat rate of 2% of the value of the UK Community Renewal Fund spent by each project will be used by Southend on Sea City Council for the costs incurred in managing Fund awards.

Local Priorities

In selecting the bids that will be forwarded to the UK Government for consideration Southend-on-Sea City Council will prioritise the bids that support the national themes (outlined above) and have the greatest potential to deliver against key local priorities, as outlined in the Southend 2050 Ambition. In particular, we will support bids which deliver against the recovery priorities drawn from the 2050 ambition:

  • Economic focus on a stronger and safer town - Projects that help to rebuild and support a local economy and social infrastructure that recognises recent challenges but is clear about the ambition for the future.
  • Green City and climate change - Projects which are committed to tackling the climate emergency and take steps towards making sustainable, long lasting and far-reaching impacts across Southend.
  • Travel and Transport - Projects which understanding the needs to move in, out and around Southend whilst supporting Southend-on-Sea’s Green city ambitions.
  • People and communities - Projects which understand and take steps to support those who are more socially excluded resulting from Covid-19. Projects that work with people and communities to understand the issues, build capacity, resilience and find solutions in response to the local and individual challenges.
  • Major projects - Projects which support, either directly or indirectly, the delivery of key pieces of work that strongly position Southend socially, environmentally, and economically for the future, enabling the town to draw in opportunities and secure investment.


Applicants will need to provide evidence which demonstrates how projects will deliver in line with the national themes and local priorities. Depending on the investment theme, examples may include evidence of a gap in local skills, current labour market challenges, the need to support individuals into employment, business opportunities for growth, innovation, or decarbonisation, or evidence of local community or place-based challenges that need addressing.

Applicants will want to do their own, more extensive research, but the following websites have data which may be helpful.

How Bids Will be Assessed

As the lead authority Southend on Sea City Council will assess all proposals submitted. Proposals will be assessed against:

  • the gateway criteria set out in the UK Community Renewal Fund Prospectus - bids that fail to meet these criteria are ineligible support and will be rejected
  • the extent to which they meet the objectives of UK Community Renewal Fund
  • the extent to which bids would support the delivery of local priorities

Following assessment Southend on Sea City Council will combine successful proposals as a single Southend bid to the UK Government for consideration for Community Renewal Funding, up to a maximum of £3m per place.

The UK Government will assess all bids submitted by lead authorities against the criteria set out in the UK Community Renewal Fund Prospectus.

The UK Government will announce the outcome of the assessment process from late July 2021 onwards.

Southend-on-Sea City Council will enter into a funding agreement with successful bidders.

Submitting a Bid

Bids must be submitted using the UK Community Renewal Fund Application Form, which is available online. Bids submitted in any other format will not be accepted.

Bids must be submitted to Southend-on-Sea City Council by email.

Bids must be submitted by 5pm on 28 May 2021.

The UK Community Renewal Fund is a competitive process and Southend on Sea City Council and the UK Government will not enter into discussions with bidders.

Summary of key dates

Key dates and actions
Action Date
Project Proposals to be submitted to the Southend-on-Sea City Council by 5pm on 28 May 2021
Project Proposals appraised, prioritised and submitted to Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) 12pm on 18 June 2021
Bids assessed by UK government and announcements Anticipated late July / early August 2021
Estimated project start date Anticipated August 2021
Project activity completed and funding spent by 31 March 2022

Here to Help

If you have any questions about the fund, or if you would like us to speak to a network event about the fund, please email us and a member of the team will get back to you.

SAVS is a local charity that can support organisations with funding and capacity building, including support with bid development. If you would like to collaborate with other organisations to submit a Community Renewal Fund bid, please contact SAVS.

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