Tap Showcase Event: Celebrating Success
On Friday, Technical Assistance Partnership (TAP), who support organisations to apply for European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), held an event to celebrate the positive impact funding has had across our region within businesses and local communities over the last few years. ESIF funds business, environmental and social programmes.
Colin Mellors, ESIF committee Chair and YNYER LEP Board Member, kick started the day by highlighting the importance of celebrating the outcomes of ESIF funding. He said: “It is interesting times we live in in relation to European matters. EU funding has made some fantastic impacts on local towns and communities over the years and whatever replaces will have need to deliver the same impact.”
He continued, “TAP paves the way to prepare organisations to prepare correctly to make successful bids and bring about the real projects. Its right to celebrate, no matter what the climate and the views that are current. Thank you to those on the ground, making the projects happen, changing communities and changing lives.”
In total £200m combined was funded to businesses, infrastructure programmes and organisations across York, North Yorkshire and East Riding and the Humber LEP areas
Lisa Wilson from Hambleton District Council talked about the funding’s they received for the Sowerby Environmental Space Project. The project aims to create an area for community use through rehabilitating scrub land and supporting natural habitats. The master-plan is drawn from 10 years of local consultation and engagement and will be a £5m project to developing land for sport and recreation for the local community. The site borders land for schools, elderly care plus economic development sites.
Future phases of the project involve more pitches for sports and leisure and there will also be further consultation to develop remaining area.
240 companies across York, North Yorkshire and Humber are now on a SparkFund journey. Spark Fund (an ESIF funded programme) is an innovation support and grants programme to help businesses in our local areas to improve or develop new products, services or processes. These companies range from a one-man entrepreneur to well established companies who are employing 150+ people and looking to develop innovations they’ve not previously been able to fund.
Delegates heard from Gary Fawcett, CEO of Skills Forge and Spark Fund Recipient, who talked about how SparkFund is helping the company to progress.
Skills Forge, a company grown out of research at the University of York, provides a software service solution to universities internationally, currently operating in the UK and Australia. Through a R&D grant and innovation voucher, SparkFund has helped to make current improvements to software as well as make it future proof. In doing so Skills Forge will be able to create jobs and further research opportunity within the region.
Kevin Curran, from Action Towards Inclusion (ATI) and director of Inspired Youth, who talked about the Big Thinking project. Action Towards Inclusion supports individuals facing challenge to move closer to employment and training. The Big Thinking project is a platform for ATI beneficiaries, giving them a voice to share their stories of overcoming barriers, inspiring others to reach out for support.
Lizzie, a beneficiary of ATI, was invited to talk about her experience.
Lizzie fled to York to escape domestic violence with her 15 month old son. She left her home and her business and as a result, faced homelessness and mental health issues. Ally, a keyworker from ATI, supported Lizzie to help her get back on track. Lizzie said:
“You have to trust the person you’re working with, someone who will listen to your story and show empathy. She listened to my aspirations and gave me options. Ally helped me with benefits and housing, support with education and counselling to help me move on from domestic abuse. ATI have always considered the practicalities I have as a single Mum and always worked around what was best for me.”
She continued “I was so shy and nervous. I had no confidence or hopes for the future. Now I’ve done qualifications, L3 in learning education for teaching, so I can teach beauty care. I have a stable home and my son is in a good nursery. I couldn’t have done this without the non-judgemental support I got from Ally.
“The differences aren’t just in me, they’re also in my son, who has come on in leaps and bounds as a result of the support we’ve received.”
“Key workers are dedicated and doing roles like these as a vocation. What I find important is relationships and also the network of partners, to ensure quick interventions for our clients, getting them the support they need when they need it.”
Closing the event, James Farrar, Chief Executive of the York North Yorkshire and East Riding Partnership said, “These projects are the reason why we get out of bed every day. We may have to navigate bureaucracy, but in doing so these investments and programmes change the lives of real people, transform real places and grow real businesses, with benefits for all.”