Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is calling on local residents, businesses and the voluntary and community sectors from across Cornwall and Isles of Scilly to help shape the future of the region as it lines up for future European funding. European funding has already made a huge economic and social impact on businesses and residents in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly - thanks to the Objective One Programme (2000-2006) and the present Convergence Programme (2007-2013) which is currently delivering transformational projects such as the rollout of superfast fibre optic broadband.
The new Programme, which will run from 2014-2020, will be part of an ‘EU Growth Programme’ financed by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and European Social Fund (ESF) with a contribution from European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). Aligning the priorities of the new programmes with the LEP’s Economic Growth Strategy will help fuel the scale of change needed if the area is to achieve long term sustainable growth in social, economic and environmental terms. It is hoped that combining the twin prongs of strategy and funding will help businesses and organisations in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to achieve their growth potential and create high quality career opportunities.
Chris Pomfret, Chair of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP, said ‘The next round of funding comes at an exciting time for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Thanks to Objective One and Convergence we have heavily invested in both physical and knowledge based infrastructure so small and medium sized enterprises are now poised to take full advantage of the next Programme’s benefits. “I would encourage everyone to engage with the consultation exercise so we can capture the widest range of opinions possible in shaping our proposals. We’re unlikely to see this kind of programme again and we need to make the most of it. We are already home to a wide range of cutting edge investments; the LEP wants to send out the message that Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is open for business, and that business is forward thinking and innovative.’ “Based on a sound assessment of our potential and coupled with the ingenuity of our top thinkers and achievers, we want to use this next EU programme to leave a truly inspiring legacy.”
The LEP and its partners will develop the Structural and Investment Fund Strategy through the summer to help inform national input to a partnership agreement. As this will set out how the UK allocates its total allocation of Structural Funds, it is essential that it reflects what matters at a local level. The LEP is taking this time to fully consult the Cornish community by opening up the consultation to all sectors to get the broadest opinions possible.
Cornwall Council’s Interim Chief Executive Paul Masters said: ‘With the next Programme coming together we look forward to the LEP working with partners to showcase the region as an exemplar of how to make the most of European funding. Cornwall Council is committed to thinking big. Looking back just over the Convergence Programme with the infrastructure which has been built and the innovative business support programmes, it is important that businesses and organisations in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are ready for the opportunities the new Programme will bring.’
A consultation exercise is open now until 30 June 2013; if you would like to take part in the consultation please go to www.cornwallandislesofscillylep.com