Gateshead Goes Local Funding programme launched
Funding totalling £2.2 million has been awarded to Gateshead Council to stimulate economic growth and jobs in disadvantaged areas within the borough.
The mix of European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund monies can be accessed through the 'Gateshead Goes Local' project which supports most of central Gateshead, stretching from Dunston to Pelaw, encompassing the town centre and south to Chowdene.
The priority areas were chosen due to high levels of disadvantage and the proximity to key employment centres including Team Valley Trading Estate and Follingsby.
Speaking at the launch of Gateshead Goes Local, Councillor John Adams, Cabinet Member for Economy said: "This funding is about bringing local communities together and giving them the opportunity to develop projects that unlock the potential of people in Gateshead.
"These Community Led Local Development projects will provide support, education and skills to unemployed people, raising their aspirations and helping to lift barriers to entry and progression within jobs. They will also aim to support business start-ups and help existing small businesses grow and expand."
One of the key differences over many other EU programmes is the role of local people and organisations in deciding the projects to be supported. A Local Action Group (LAG) of residents and private and third sector partners has been established to make funding decisions.
Vikkie Wilkinson, LAG Chairperson said: "There is a lot of talent in the community and often all that is needed is a helping hand to get ideas off the ground. Gateshead Goes Local is a perfect example of this. It's a great opportunity for local groups and businesses to secure funding of between £20,000 and £200,000 to support employment and enterprise initiatives."