The Economic Recovery Fund supports local businesses and organisations to get people visiting and spending money in their neighbourhoods.
That could mean events where businesses can connect with customers; exciting new features to draw people in; changes to make the high street a nicer place to spend time; or something completely different. Solutions are designed by local people for local people, using their insight into what will work on their high street.
A whistle-stop tour of some of the brilliant things that people made happen using ERF funding in 2022.
Six areas used some of their funding to create a new Business Forum. These will help businesses work together to maintain the momentum of positive change.
The ERF was launched in 2021, as a one-off fund to commission projects to support economic recovery from the pandemic. The Council set out to support and collaborate on projects that would aid local economic recovery by generating demand, bringing back customers and promoting consumer confidence.
Applicants could bid for small scale projects of up to £50,000, or large scale projects of up to £200,000. Projects could be developed and led from within the Council, through partner organisations or by the private sector. External applications had to come from partnerships rather than single businesses or organisations; all projects had to be for broader, not just individual benefit.
The fund pioneered a new level of partnership working for the Council. The objectives were purposely broad to enable new and existing collaborations to develop projects that fit local circumstances and needs. Rather than setting the outcome ourselves we asked local people to come forward with their ideas.
By piloting this new way of working for the council, the broader aim is to achieve an ongoing legacy by continuing conversations and collaborations locally.
Recognising the continuing pressures on our city’s economic health, we’re working on a second round of the ERF. The second round will seek to extend the economic benefits felt through the first round to more high streets across Sheffield, with applicants again setting out their own solutions to local challenges.
As we develop this round, we’re taking time to make sure the way the fund works is fit for purpose in this changing economic environment, and that we learn lessons from the first round to make this one even better.
Details of the scheme will be finalised towards the end of 2022 and will be open to applications as soon as possible to ensure the funding gets where it is needed.