The £220 million UK Community Renewal Fund is an investment in people, places, businesses and communities with the aim of improving everyday life across the UK.
Stoke-on-Trent was identified as one of 100 national priority places and was successful in six bids for funding to the value of £2.5m.
Staffordshire University is the lead on two bids collectively worth more than £1m – one submitted by Stoke-on-Trent City Council and the other by Staffordshire County Council – and is a partner on three other bids submitted by the City Council.
The Boosting Digital Inclusion in Stoke-on-Trent project plans to help disadvantaged communities and digitally excluded individuals in the city to access digital services.
Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Designate Professor Martin Jones said: “We pride ourselves on being a leading Digital University and know that digital skills and engagement have a huge part to play in helping people to access essential services and find employment.
“We look forward to working with organisations such as Voluntary Action Stoke-on-Trent and YMCA North Staffordshire to properly understand and address the needs of people from our most disadvantaged communities so they can improve basic skills and increase their opportunities. This is very much part of our Civic responsibility to improve quality of life in our City.”
The Innovation and Productivity Pathfinder project will enable Staffordshire employers to access University expertise and support towards the development of innovation plans and pathways and intrapreneurship CPD training for their workforce.
Marek Hornak, Associate Dean for Innovation and Enterprise, said: “This project will be delivered through the University’s Innovation Enterprise Zone and is the latest in a portfolio of innovation and skills support programmes designed to kickstart business and economic growth in our region.”
Staffordshire University is also supporting a new Digital Innovation and Education Hub in the city, led by Wavemaker.
Ben McManus, Director and Chief Creative Officer of Wavemaker, and a graduate of Staffordshire University, said: “We are delighted that we’re now going to be able to drive forward with our plans to really close the digital divide with communities across Stoke-on-Trent.
“This is a partnership project involving many organisations and we’re really looking forward to working with some of the great talent that is here in Stoke-on-Trent.”
Welcoming news of the successful bids, Stoke-on-Trent City Council leader Abi Brown said: “We have been clear with government around what we want to achieve and what we need to make this happen. I’m so pleased that this hard work has paid off, and we’ve been awarded funding for our communities to deliver a number of projects around helping residents upskill, encouraging young people to be aspirational, and supporting the health and wellbeing agenda in the city.
“My thanks go to those across the community who have worked hard to help us with this funding success and who will be instrumental in the delivery of these exciting projects that will bring more jobs to the city.”