The Economic Development Unit is responsible for the development and delivery of projects and programmes that benefit local businesses, residents and economy of the Isles of Scilly.
Its work involves working with the local business community and residents to bring forward viable propositions that will improve the economic output of the Islands by reducing barriers to employment and the workplace, by raising the value of existing products, by developing opportunities to diversify the business base and by delivering skilled and well paid employment opportunities. It also includes developing the skills and training that compliment the islands businesses and providing access to business support mechanisms and Higher and Further Education resources that can improve business performance.
Maintaining the economy of the islands is imperative to the long term sustainability of the community. Well paid jobs, career prospects and an atmosphere of entrepreneurism are all necessary to retain a balanced and viable population, as are the provision of affordable housing and community facilities that are both accessible and wide ranging. Of equal importance is the protection and preservation of the outstanding natural environment that is both the basis of our economy and the rationale behind the choice of many to live and work in our community. The work of the Economic Development Department will integrate the principles of economy, environment, community, sustainability and equality of opportunity in all of its actions.
Over the next four years the Isles of Scilly will have access to unprecedented levels of grant funding and it will be the responsibility of this department to work in partnership with businesses, the community and stakeholders, both on the Isles of Scilly and on the mainland, to deliver projects that continue to allow the islands to compete effectively in all markets, enjoy a comparable quality of life and retain its environmental quality.
Below is a prÉcis of some of the funding programmes covering the Isles of Scilly.
The Convergence Programme
Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have been awarded Convergence Status under the current round of European Structural Fund allocations. This status means that the islands are able to receive European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund grants towards improving the economy and skills of its businesses and residents.
Further information on the Councils European Social Fund project, the Evolving Isles, can be seen here.
The European Regional Development Fund has four priority axes and these are:
§ Priority Axis 1: Innovation and Research & Development
§ Priority Axis 2: Enterprise & Investment
§ Priority Axis 3: Transformational Infrastructure
§ Priority Axis 4: Unlocking the Economic Potential of Place
Priority 1 allows for the development of projects stimulating research and development with a focus in building intellectual capital; Supporting ideas, innovation and knowledge, linking companies to universities; innovation and incubation; and the growth of the environmental goods and services sector, such as environmental technologies and renewables.
Priority 2 investment will support new enterprise, high growth companies, targeted business support, business infrastructure and the growth of the environmental goods and services sector (again including environmental technologies and renewable)
Priority 3 looks to developa limited number of major investments allowing local businesses to better access and compete in national and international knowledge and trading networks and new markets.
Priority 4 will sustainably develop the capacity of key towns/areas to deliver investments critical to the development of a knowledge based and higher value added economy. This will include the modernisation of business infrastructure in locations with the potential to secure significant new investment and which can add to the process of transforming the economy.
The Isles of Scilly can receive grant funding towards projects that fit with any of the above Priorities. However, they have also received special recognition within Priority 4 along with Penzance as an area requiring limited, specific actions to unlock significant economic opportunities and thereby realise their potential. This recognition has lead to the Isles of Scilly being given access to ring fenced funding within Priority 4 that only it and other recognised Strategic Investment Framework (SIF) areas in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly can use. The Penzance and Isles of Scilly SIF is described in greater detail below.
Further information on the Convergence Programme can be found via the following links:
Convergence Cornwall website
European Union official website
Penzance and Isles of Scilly Strategic Investment Framework (SIF)
In January 2008 the Council of the Isles of Scilly and Penwith District Council were jointly commissioned to develop a Strategic Investment Framework (SIF) for the Key Towns/Areas of Isles of Scilly and Penzance. It was agreed that both Councils would develop their own documents separately and then join them into a single overarching strategy. To inform the SIF the Council commissioned a socioeconomic study to capture information relating to the economy and community of the islands and to identify issues that required specific attention. The socioeconomic study took place over a three month period and included workshops with key stakeholders and a survey of the islands businesses. It also included collection of data from a variety of sources including the Office of National Statistics and the Annual Business Inquiry to develop the most accurate picture of the economy and community of the Isles of Scilly.
Interpretation of this data with contextual information such as existing local, regional and national policies, the requirements of the Convergence Programme, geographical constraints and local knowledge allowed for the development of a series of Priority Projects that will combat the main issues affecting the Isles of Scilly and which fit with the principles of the Convergence Operational Programme.
In July 2009 the Council of the Isles of Scilly was successful in bidding for grant funding for a team to deliver the SIF and other European Regional Development Fund projects over the next four years. This team is now in place within the Councils Planning and Development Department and is working to deliver the priority projects set out in the SIF as well as investigating other opportunities for the economy of the islands.
An electronic version of the SIF is available here. Opens in a new window
Porthcressa Regeneration Phase 1 Public Realm and Workspace
The Regeneration of Porthcressa Bank is now complete. The new beachfront facilities are now enjoyed by residents and visitors alike, with social, economic and environmental enhancements including;
· Modern new library facilities;
· An attractive new Register Office;
· Re-landscaped sea front and banks;
· Various public realm enhancements including seating areas, lighting and planting;
· Enhanced public conveniences and an exceptional public shelter; and
· Provision of new workspace and much needed social housing.
A celebration for the local community to mark completion of the scheme was held back in May, with music, cream teas, crafts and a bouncy castle as well as tours of the new Library, Register Office, housing and work units.
Work on this project began back in 2008 when the Council of the Isles of Scilly, working with the South West Regional Development Agency, began developing a master plan to deliver the regeneration of Porthcressa. A multi-disciplinary team of consultants including architects, quantity surveyors, landscape architects, mechanical and electrical engineers and traffic advisors were employed to develop a strategy that met with the islands characteristics and the ambitions of the community. A significant amount of study and consultation was undertaken and this work was instrumental in defining the scope and scale of the project as well as developing a shared vision for the redevelopment of this historic sea front locale. In August 2009 the Porthcressa Masterplan was published by consultants Roger Tym and Partners, Sandover Associates, Scott Wilson and Cyril Sweett. The document was taken to the Full Council meeting of the Council of the Isles of Scilly on the 10th September 2009 and Members of the committee resolved to accept the Masterplan as a supplementary planning document. In 2010, the Council of the Isles of Scilly appointed Poynton Bradbury Wynter Cole (PBWC) Architects Ltd and Scott Wilson to lead the development of designs to transform the vision of the master plan in to a realizable series of developments. This work included the production of design materials and the submission of a full planning application to take the project closer towards its physical development phase. The plans were presented to the Council's Planning and Development Committee at its meeting on the 25th January 2011 and planning permission was granted. Further design works and a competitive tender process were undertaken before the Council presented two business plans in late 2011 to the Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Convergence Programme for European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) investment. The business plans were successful and as a result grant funding of over £2.5 million was granted for the scheme. In addition to the ERDF funding, the Council of the Isles of Scilly sought grant funding from the Homes and Communities Agency and were successful in levering in over £240,000 capital investment to the Porthcressa Regeneration project.
Following the appointment of a contractor to undertake the construction in late 2011, the Porthcressa regeneration Scheme commenced work on site in February 2012 and was completed by Spring 2013.
Convergence Cornwall - http://www.convergencecornwall.com/
Rural Development Programme for England
The Rural Development Programme for England(RDPE) was launched in the region on 4th February 2008. It aims to support and promote sustainable farming, forestry and food sectors, and also to bring wider benefits for the economy, the environment and rural communities. Areas of activity include environmental stewardship, skills development, farming and forestry diversification, resource management, renewable energy supply chains and community-led development (The Local Action for Rural Communities Initiative)
The programme has three axes, these are:
- Axis 1 - improving the competitiveness of the farming and forestry sectors (10% of the total budget).
- Axis 2 - improving the environment and countryside (80% of the total budget)
- Axis 3 - improving quality of life in rural areas and promoting diversification of the rural economy (10% of the total budget). This axis includes the Local Action initiative which is described in more detail in the following section.
The South West of England Regional Development Agency (RDA) is responsible for the management and delivery of priorities 1 and 3 which in the region have a budget of £156.8 million from 2007 to 2013. Further information on these axes can be seen at the South West Rural Development Gateway and the RDAs websites.
Priority 2 has been divided into the English Woodland Grant Scheme (EWGS) and the Environmental Stewardship scheme (ES) which are administered by the Forestry Commission and Natural England respectively.
The Isles of Scilly Local Action Group (LAG) is a community led partnership who in association with the Council of the Isles of Scilly has successfully bid for £2.25m from the Rural Development Programme for England to invest in projects that benefit the community, economy and environment of the Isles of Scilly.
A Local Development Strategy has been agreed between the Isles of Scilly Local Action Group and the funding provider setting out the kind of projects that can be supported. There are 11 different themes, grouped together under three strategic priorities. A project proposal will need to fit at least one of these themes to qualify for funding.
Priority 1: to increase the competitiveness and productivity of local businesses
Destination Management, Planning and Capacity strategic planning across the tourism sector.
Facilitation & Implementation of the Capacity for Change Agricultural Study.
Scilly Improve A generic fund to improve services within the tourist sector.
Scilly Workplace Fund A small scale capital fund.
Scilly Equipment and Machinery Share Scheme
Priority 2: to improve access to services in order to improve the quality of life on the islands and provide the infrastructure for a balanced community
Scilly Community Community Projects.
Scilly Vet Support for a sustainable veterinary practice.
Scilly Sustainable Transport projects that encourage sustainable transport projects.
Priority 3: to leverage the environmental economy in sustainable ways that add value to the visitor experience and leave a legacy of environmental protection and best practice into the future
Scilly Waste community-led waste minimization projects.
Public Realm Improvements
Environmental Access & Interpretation
Wet Weather Facilities (linked to the environment)
The decision whether to award a grant is made by the Isles of Scilly Local Action Group. The LAG has local representatives from a range of interests including the community, business and environmental management.
For further information on this fund you can download The Isles of Scilly Local Action Group Leaflet here Opens in a new window. Alternatively you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Isles of Scilly Local Action Group website
European Fisheries Fund
In Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly over £7m is available through the European Fisheries Fund for investments which help secure a sustainable and profitable fishing industry.
The scheme is open for applications and a facilitation service is provided by:
Further details are available from the Marine and Fisheries Agency.
If you would like further information on any of these funding streams or have comments, projects or proposals that you would like to discuss with us please contact us at email@example.com or at
Council of the Isles of Scilly
Old Wesleyan Chapel
Isles of Scilly
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