Fund To Keep Sheffield Working Attracts Millions
11th April 2014
Sheffield City Council has attracted over £2 million to Sheffield's economy thanks to its Keep Sheffield Working Fund.
Just 18 months after the fund was formally established the Council has reported a number of successes. Overall the £800,000 of Council investment has yielded a further £2,110,000 funding through partners and private sector match. It is anticipated that this figure could rise to £2,300,000 by December 2015. The Council is now looking to allocate a further £200,000 to continue the work of the scheme - increasing job creation in the area, and growth to the local economy. Councillor Leigh Bramall, Cabinet Member for Business, Skills and Economy at Sheffield City Council said: -We set up the Keep Sheffield Working fund in June 2012 so that we could support activities that would help create jobs and drive the local economy forward. -The programme is all about focusing on short term growth initiatives that deliver a longer term impact - in short, helping to create jobs and growth in our area. -We know that it is vital for our future economy that we have a strong, sustainable and resilient economy driven by growth in the private sector. That is why we have invested in things that will build a stronger economy, support businesses to grow and expand into new markets and remove barriers to work. Already the Council has seen real success - in particular raising people's aspirations and improving their chances of taking up training and job opportunities. The fund is on target to deliver 86 jobs over the course of the projects life. Over 90 businesses have been supported so far through Keep Sheffield Working fund and this figure will reach 130 by the end of 2014. £740,000 invested into supporting businesses growth and creating jobs, of which £342,500 has been direct investment into small and medium sized companies (SMEs) to support growth or export plans. By the end of the year £424,000 will have been directly invested in SME growth. The remainder has been used on projects that provide direct hand on support business such as to fulfil their export aspiration. The fund has also supported companies to extend trade relationship to 17 different countries, something which the Council is keen to build on through its International Trade Strategy. Richard Wright, Executive Director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said: -We are, and will continue to, work hard with the Council on this program because we absolutely understand the need to get people working, particularly the young ones. -At national level the British Chamber of Commerce lobbied the Chancellor to put more resources into getting young people back into work at the recent Budget, so we applaud Sheffield City Council's efforts locally. -The issue remains however that we have to grow the economy to create the jobs for people to move into and then up-skill the people to be able to do those jobs. There is no instant fix to that and Leigh is right to talk about short-term actions to deliver long-term solutions. -The real solution will need all parties to bring their skills to the table. The Local Authority has excellent program management skills but the private sector knows how to make money and create wealth. We need a bigger focus on the wealth creation projects in this city and region, but we will certainly do our part.