£1bn cash pot up for grabs

Councillor Pam Hargreaves. Picture by FRANK REID. IRN

Councillor Pam Hargreaves. Picture by FRANK REID. IRN

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REGENERATION chiefs have vowed to work closer with Hartlepool’s small businesses – starting by encouraging firms to bid for big money.

Nearly £1bn is up for grabs under the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF).

Firms in Hartlepool are being urged to claim before bidding closes on Friday, July 1.

Officials at Tees Valley Unlimited (TVU), which is co-ordinating the area’s bid for cash, promised their full advice and support.

TVU managing director Stephen Catchpole spoke at last night’s briefing conference held at Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience to explain more about the fund.

He said: “Our key area is to drive economic growth in the Tees Valley and we shall make sure we have success in pursuing that.

“We are trying to get closer to the small business community and find effective ways of dealing with them.”

Tees Valley clinched £26m in round one of the RGF. Mr Catchpole is confident of round two success. He said: “I think we should receive support because nothing has changed from the first round. As an area we should be well placed.”

Pamela Hargreaves, the porfolio holder for economic development and regeneration at Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “This is an important development for us.

“The RGF is a key pot of money and a key area of work for us.”

The RGF is a Government project to stimulate private sector-led growth across the UK. Whereas round one was only open to firms bidding for sums of £1m or more, round two could help smaller Hartlepool firms as companies which could not meet the £1m threshhold can submit packages where the combined total reaches £1m.

Round two is also open to programmes which show an investment strategy for a particular geographical area, and projects which show commitment to long-term growth.

Businesses still wanting to find out more can attend another in the series of briefings on Monday, May 23 – at Cavendish House in Stockton

Registration starts at 5pm for 5.30pm start with the meeting finishing around 6.30pm.

Anyone wanting more details on that meeting should email sally.bainbridge@teesvalleyunlimited.gov.uk or call (01642) 524400.

A roadshow is also being planned by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills in Newcastle on Thursday, June 2.

To register, contact (02072)156758 or email growthfund@bis.gsi.gov.uk