The £2.35 billion Towns Fund is at the heart of the government’s Levelling Up strategy, enabling economic growth and regeneration. And LEPs are involved in many of the 790 projects now planned across the country.
In 2020, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities appointed the Towns Fund Delivery Partner (TFDP) to provide expert advice and support to the 101 towns involved in the fund, to secure and deliver their Town Deals. Now that the TFDP contract has ended, we reflect on the legacy it left for LEPs.
The TFDP represented a new way of working for government that would help shape future funding programmes. This way of working encourages collaboration with organisations, such as LEPs, to gain a richer understanding of local economic growth opportunities.
The TFDP engaged with 101 Town Deal Boards (TDBs) in total. Many TDBs are formed from a diverse group of local entrepreneurs and businesspeople, and many involve LEPs from their respective towns, demonstrating how the fund is committed to encouraging leadership from within communities themselves.
A major part of the TFDP, Copper Consultancy offered tailored community engagement support to towns. Working one-on-one with councils and TDB members, the company helped tackle a range of stakeholder engagement challenges, such as how to engage with local businesses and the private sector – two areas where the LEP Network was a key participant.
Through its work, more than 2,000 meetings with towns were held, 150 resources created, 129 blogs written, 400 service requests fulfilled and 792 projects started. Copper also helped shape Town Investment Plans (TIPs) and Business Cases to help towns build community involvement and offered advice on branding and how to carry it out, which can be viewed here.
- Through its work, the progamme gave towns: Collective knowledge and capabilities through peer-to-peer place-based learning
- New personal skills and training accreditation
- A platform to collaborate and solve common challenges
For local people, businesses and communities, the TFDP Supported the creation of an environment where people and LEPs can shape the future of their towns and build confidence in new capabilities. While there is a lot still to do and hundreds of projects to realise, the groundwork for a lasting legacy has been laid.
To find out more about how Copper Consultancy can support your LEP with communications and engagement, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.