The area’s official destination management organisation has secured £500,000 to boost jobs, encourage growth and support the recovery of visitor economy businesses in the Peak District and Derbyshire following a successful bid to the Government’s Community Renewal Fund.
Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire, working in partnership with East Midlands Chamber, the University of Derby, The Food and Drink Forum and Nottingham Business Venture, has been awarded a share of an overall project totalling £1.47 million that will run until 30 June 2022.
Investment in low carbon solutions, business growth, employment, training and digital skills are amongst the key aims of the project, which is set to create jobs and breathe new life into local communities as part of the Government’s commitment to levelling-up the nation and achieving net zero carbon emissions.
Financial support for businesses will include growth vouchers and start-up grants of up to £2,000, plus flexible grant funding of up to £8,000 to help businesses access green solutions, adopt digital technology and receive specialist training.
Activity for the project will be delivered under five key strands, known as ‘Accelerators’, with Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire delivering the support for visitor economy businesses.
The five ‘Accelerators’ in the project are as follows:
• Race to Zero Carbon Accelerator to encourage investment in net zero business practices and to offer financial support for ‘clean growth’ such as the implementation of carbon reduction plans.
• Digital Transformation Accelerator to help businesses implement e-commerce solutions and become online bookable. This will also include collaborative pilots for the cultural and heritage sector to access technology solutions, develop town-based festivals and drive market town footfall.
• Start Up to Scale Up Accelerator to deliver mentoring to help start-ups launch a business idea and grants of up to £2,000 to launch a new business or product.
• The Kickstart Accelerator to deliver training and mentoring support to improve job retention, as well as a wage subsidy to convert a Kickstart or Graduate placement into a new sustained job.
• The Financial Accelerator to offer flexible grant funding of up to £8,000 to help businesses fund digital adoption, carbon reduction solutions and specialist training. Growth vouchers of up to £2,000 will be available for consultancy advice to support business growth and a wage subsidy will be available to support Kickstart or Graduate job retention.
The project also includes feasibility studies into the development of two apps, including a visitor app that would provide real-time data on visitor behaviour, and a transport planning app that would align bus and rail routes to popular destinations in the area.
More information on the Community Renewal Fund project, including the grants programme, can be found at: visitpeakdistrict.com/industry/community-renewal-fund
Jo Dilley, Managing Director of Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire, said: “We’re delighted that our Community Renewal Fund bid has been successful, creating a host of new opportunities to drive the post-Covid recovery and long-term growth of visitor economy businesses in the Peak District and Derbyshire
“As highlighted in our Tourism Recovery Plan, our ambition is to become a leading destination in sustainable tourism and this, alongside our ongoing commitment to boosting jobs, skills and growth, clearly aligns with the Government’s aims for the Community Renewal Fund.
“We look forward to working alongside our partners and hope this project will pave the way for future funding to ensure visitor economy businesses can not only survive, but thrive, as we embark on the road to recovery.”
Diane Beresford, Deputy Chief Executive and Community Renewal Fund lead at East Midlands Chamber, said: “The East Midlands Accelerator project will look at what the needs are locally and seek to address them with targeted, bespoke support that brings together key stakeholders across the region – with each strand connected by the golden thread of acceleration.
“We strongly believe these schemes, which will enhance the existing support out there, will have a transformative impact for so many businesses and individuals in the Peak District and Derbyshire.
“This area is a hive of entrepreneurship and we’re looking forward to assisting people to get great ideas off the ground and then scaling them up, while for more established businesses we can help them navigate their net zero and digital transformation journeys.
“We’re also excited about building on our success in the Kickstart Scheme, having been the UK’s largest and most successful gateway organisation in supporting businesses to create more than 1,800 placements in our region.”
Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire, East Midlands Chamber, and the University of Derby support the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 200 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.