Brighton & Hove City Council has been awarded £583,538 as part of the Welcome Back Fund, which aims to ensure city centres and seaside resorts are ready to welcome back visitors as lockdown restrictions ease. This funding will be dedicated to the city’s local economy as it recovers from the impact of Covid-19.
The government and ERDF have set out that councils can use the funding to address the longer-term impact of Covid-19 on local economies. This includes activities that last as long as restrictions are in place as well as those that help secure the future of the country’s high streets. It cannot be used for permanent changes or to give direct financial support to businesses for adaptations to premises, to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE), goods or equipment, or to offset wages or other operating costs.
Councillors will decide on how the money will be spent at the Policy & Resources (Recovery) Sub-Committee this Thursday, 22 July.
Around £250,000 of Brighton and Hove’s Welcome Back Fund is set to go towards local tourism initiatives, of which £100,000 has been allocated to support local high streets and communities outside of the main high street and beach front areas.
A further £94,000 will be invested in temporary street measures such as sanitizer stations and temporary toilets, and £75,000 will support cultural recovery in the city.
How we are allocating the funds
- Local tourism initiatives and environmental improvements £252,000
- Of which, local high streets and communities have been allocated £100,000
- Temporary public realm changes £94,400
- Events and support for cultural recovery in the city £75,000
- Public information and communications £71,800
- Administration £39,000
Mark Buchanan-Smith, chair of the city’s Destination Experience Group welcomed the funds as a timely boost to local businesses. He said: “The Visitor Economy has suffered significantly through the pandemic; however, we are starting to see green shoots of recovery in some areas. Any additional support and funding to help our city’s Visitor Economy recover, given it means so much to our city’s businesses and employment, is warmly welcomed.”
Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty, leader of Brighton & Hove City Council said: “We know how hard businesses have worked to keep our city on the path to recovery, and these funds will help keep Brighton & Hove open and safe for everyone who lives, works and visits the city.
“We will use these funds to support the diversity of our economy, reaching out to local areas, and supporting events, communities and local high streets, as well as investing in tourism and culture, which are the lifeblood of our city’s economy.”
Local artists and arts organisations will distribute the allocation for events and cultural recovery, through the ABCD for Cultural Recovery group. The ABCD for Cultural Recovery was set up voluntarily by organisations and individuals in Brighton & Hove to create a plan for the sector. Together they will provide opportunities for creative & cultural organisations in the city. Find more information on the culture in our city website.
We are currently working out the process for distributing the £100,000 allocation for local high streets. When available, details about how your community can benefit will be published on our website.
For enquiries about the Welcome Back Fund, please contact the Welcome Back Fund Officer Ellen.Hayward@brighton-hove.gov.uk
About the funding organisations
The Welcome Back Fund has received £56 million of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for the European Regional Development Fund.
Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. Find more information on the gov.uk website.
The Welcome Back Fund
On 20 March 2021 the government launched a Welcome Back Fund which was merged with the previously announced Reopening High Streets Safely Fund. Both are backed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and aim to ensure that city centres and seaside resorts are ready to welcome back visitors as lockdown restrictions are eased.
The Welcome Back Fund is an additional allocation which will be reclaimed from government and acknowledges the significant impact of COVID-19 on tourism and on local high streets. Councils have to spend the money by 31 March 2022.
How the money is spent is set out by government and can include:
- Communications and public information
- Awareness-raising activities with businesses
- Temporary changes to streets to enable people to move around safely
- Supporting a safe public environment for tourism
- Responding to the medium-term impact of Covid-19 including trialling new ideas on the High Street
- Holding events like street markets and festivals to support local businesses
- Improving the look and feel of high streets with planting and seating areas
- Installing signage and floor markings to encourage social distancing and safety
Policy & Resources (Recovery) Sub-Committee
Watch the Policy & Resources (Recovery) Sub-Committee online on 22 July. Read the Welcome Back Fund committee report (agenda item 12)