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Businesses, charities and groups in coastal towns are being urged to apply for a share of £40million in Government cash to help boost the region.

Mayor Ben Houchen has welcomed the financial commitment, set out in the Coastal Communities Fund, and urged everyone eligible to take advantage of the funding opportunity.

Awards of more than £50,000 are available for a wide range of organisations and projects which benefit coastal communities.

The scheme aims to transform such areas through investment in jobs, skills and local businesses and is open to public sector bodies, private sector companies, voluntary organisations and social enterprises and coastal community teams. To date, the Fund has invested £3.1million into Tees Valley projects.

Ben Houchen said: “We are fortunate enough to have some stunning towns and villages dotted along our coastline. From Seaton Carew to Saltburn-by-the-Sea, this new fund will breathe new life into communities that have sometimes felt left behind.

“I am today urging businesses, charities and community groups to apply for this funding. The power is in our hands to help shape the future growth of our area and we should not let this pass us by.

“This Fund has spurred inward investment, sustainable growth, new jobs and exciting economic opportunities for local businesses. We need more of that here.

“It is great to see a clear Government commitment to our coastal towns. The money is there, now we need to go get it.”

Since its introduction, the Coastal Communities Fund has given grants to 295 projects across the UK totalling £174million. Analysis shows this has been money well spent, with every £1 invested having the potential to create an up to £8 boost to our coastal economies.

Bodies looking to apply for the latest round of funding would need to demonstrate that their proposal fits in with the economic priorities of their local area. They must also show that they could fully spend any cash awarded or complete delivery by March 31, 2021.

The closing date for Stage 1 Expressions of Interest applications is 11pm on April 2, 2018.

For more information and to see if your organisation is eligible, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coastal-communities-fund-round-5