A NEW fund to support seaside towns create jobs and prosperity was warmly welcomed by Newhaven and Seaford MP Norman Baker.
The £23.7m Coastal Communities Fund has been created to provide struggling coastal communities with money to support new opportunities and make their towns prosper.
It was launched by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and Chief Secretary Danny Alexander, who are inviting organisations to apply for funding.
The cash will allow them to rejuvenate traditional assets or exploit emerging industries.
Seaford and Newhaven MP Norman Baker said: “I warmly welcome the establishment of this new fund, announced by my Lib Dem ministerial colleague Danny Alexander.
“I can think of many ways in which this fund could be used to benefit Newhaven and Seaford, and am strongly encouraging Lewes District Council, and our town councils in Newhaven and Seaford, to think about putting in bids. These could, for example, be to help rejuvenate the port area in Newhaven, or improve the rail / bus interchange in the town.
“Alternatively, Sussex Downs College could think about how it could tie in with Seaford Head or Tideway schools to improve post-16 skills, so helping young people into employment. My office will be making sure local bodies who might want to apply are fully aware of this new fund.”
Money could be used to deliver skills training, offer apprenticeships to school leavers, create new workspaces or support small-scale transport improvements. Successful applicants can expect to get a grant of between £50,000 and £2m.
Communities Secretary Mr Pickles said he was very keen on bids from social enterprises, charities, local businesses or local enterprise partnerships.
He said: “This is a great opportunity for long overlooked seaside towns, large and small, to grab a chance to grow through imaginative and innovative projects that create skilled workers, and provide year round jobs that build stronger local economies.”
And Mr Alexander said: “Having grown up in a coastal community in Scotland, I am only too aware of the vital role these communities play in the UK. It is fair that we share the Crown Estate’s marine revenues equally and I am delighted to launch the Coastal Communities Fund prospectus today.”
The fund will be financed by the Government from revenues from the Crown Estate’s marine assets.