Plymouth City Council is part of an ambitious cross-border project that will deliver a unique package of Covid-19 recovery support for local businesses and people.
The C-CARE (Covid Channel Area Response Exchange) initiative, funded by the Interreg France (Channel) England programme, is set to reach businesses and people that have been hit hardest in the pandemic.
Drawing on a range of expertise from local government, enterprise and tourism in the UK and France, the project will support people at risk of exclusion from the labour market and businesses at risk of closure.
C-CARE aims to reach 4,500 people and almost 2,000 businesses through its pilot initiatives which include skills training to help individuals find new routes into employment or starting a business, and advice and grants aimed at helping companies reset their business models in response to the pandemic.
It is hoped that the insights and evidence gathered from both sides of the Channel will feed into local plans for Plymouth, to aid recovery and resilience planning and ensure measures are in place to support businesses and people adapt to future pandemics or economic shocks.
The package of support covers four strands of activity:
Respond, Reflect, Report will enable partners, stakeholders and other Channel projects to review initial Covid-response, gather good practice and bring together lessons learnt in order to shape a new package of Covid-19 response and recovery actions
C-CARE Support for Social Inclusion will deliver targeted support to more than 4,547 individuals to develop new skills and tools to help them into employment or start a business
C-CARE Support for Business Recovery will provide direct support to over 1,947 businesses via advice, vouchers and grants aimed at helping sectors hard-hit by the pandemic to develop new business models to respond market changes and ensure a green, inclusive and sustainable economic recovery.
C-CARE Reset and Redesign will develop blueprints for future town centres to improve long term prospects for businesses and work on new ways to tackle social exclusion.
The C-CARE initiative will mean additional support for people and businesses in Plymouth. This will include the creation of bespoke ‘skills action plans’ for 500 people that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, equipping them with the skills they need for the work opportunities that are available.
The project will also support the ‘Resurgam Charter’ programme, which focuses on inclusive economic growth and provides local businesses with useful tools to help adapt to new ways of working and build resilience.
Council Leader Nick Kelly said: “It’s fantastic to be part of the innovative C-CARE programme, which will support some of the most disadvantaged people in our communities that have been severely impacted by Covid-19.
“The programme will help get people back into work, it’ll help our businesses to survive and flourish and ensure that our local economy is greener, more sustainable and more inclusive – which will benefit everyone.”
The C-CARE project received €6.7million from the European Regional Development Fund via the Interreg France (Channel) England programme. The project runs until June 2023.