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Rebecca Wayman

Gateshead Council receives £2.2m growth fund to boost employment in deprived areas

A fund of £2.2m has been awarded to Gateshead Council to strengthen economic growth and jobs in disadvantaged areas within the borough.

The ‘Gateshead Goes Local’ project supports both the European Regional Development Fund as well as the European Social Fund monies that can be accessed through the project, which stretches from Pelaw to Dunston.

Priority areas were also chosen due to high levels of disadvantage along with their proximity to key employment centres including Team Valley Trading Estate.

Speaking at Gateshead Goes Local’s launch, Councillor John Adams, cabinet member for economy, said: “This funding is about bringing local communities together and giving them the opportunity to develop projects that unlock the potential of people in Gateshead.

“These community-led local development projects will provide support, education and skills to unemployed people, raising their aspirations and helping to lift barriers to entry and progression within jobs.

“They will also aim to support business startups and help existing small businesses grow and expand.”

One of the key differences over many other EU programmes is the role of local people and organisations in deciding the projects to be supported.

A Local Action Group (LAG) of residents and private and third sector partners has been established to make funding decisions.

Vikkie Wilkinson, LAG chairperson, said: “There is a lot of talent in the community and often all that is needed is a helping hand to get ideas off the ground.

“Gateshead Goes Local is a perfect example of this. It’s a great opportunity for local groups and businesses to secure funding of between £20k and £200k to support employment and enterprise initiatives.”

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