Council secures £2.5million from the UK Community Renewal Fund

PROJECTS across East Sussex are set to receive a multi-million pound boost following successful bids to the UK Community Renewal Fund.

East Sussex County Council will receive a total of £2,518,187 from the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund, which will go towards five projects in the county.

Over £730,000 has been awarded to two projects in Hastings, while a campaign to reboot tourism in Lewes district will receive more than £700,000. Two further East Sussex-wide projects will be funded by awards totalling over £1 million.

Some of the target outcomes across East Sussex include the safeguarding of 300 full time employee jobs, 470 participants engaged in skills and employment support and a significant increase in visitor numbers.

Cllr Rupert Simmons, lead member for economy at East Sussex County Council, said: “This funding is fantastic news and I’m delighted that the government has recognised the value of these projects, which will support the people and communities most in need in East Sussex.

“These projects are investing in our people, our places and our local businesses, and will be vital to helping our economy to grow and our communities to flourish as we recover from the challenges faced during the pandemic.

“Congratulations to all the successful projects.”

The Hastings 2066 initiative will receive £636,173 for a new Immersive Studio and digital overlay to the town. The project will allow people to discover artistry and history through augmented reality, and those unable to visit in person will be able to explore the town through it’s ‘Digital Twin’ using virtual reality technology.

£100,100 will fund the second Hastings based project – the Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Futureproofing Initiative (Building Community Connections). Led by Hastings Voluntary Action this project aims to create a “Whole System” approach to volunteering in the town, and to reform service access to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in the community.

Lewes District Council, in partnership with Plumpton College, the South Downs National Park Authority and Sussex Modern, will receive £705,000 for a high-impact tourism campaign including pilots and research to create a global brand for wine and cultural tourism. The project will be delivered in the Lewes district with a focus on growing high-quality and sustainable tourism.

“Minding the Gaps” is a partnership pilot working in Lewes, Hastings, Wealden and Rother. The project, which has been awarded £547,627, aims to support participants into employment by addressing the gaps in the current employment, learning and skills support provision in these four areas.

£529,287 has been secured by the Innovation Masters Programme, an East Sussex wide project that will improve the productivity of the county’s micro business community through master classes, workshops and roadshows.

Cllr Simmons added: “We are currently awaiting further details from the government on our grant funding obligations. Once we receive this information, we will be working proactively with the successful bidders to ensure their projects can move forward swiftly and be delivered by the Government’s extended delivery date of June 30, 2022.”

The UK Community Renewal Fund is a UK Government programme for 2021/22. This aims to support people and communities most in need across the UK to pilot programmes and new approaches to prepare for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. It invests in skills, community and place, local business, and supporting people into employment. For more information, visit