Agenda item

To receive a presentation from Louise Adam, Programme Delivery Manager.


The Head of Community and Place introduced members to North Devon Plus and explained the business focus. He provided details on the Board structure, along with the structure of the organisation and a summary of the roles within.


Louise Adam, Programme Delivery Manager, then introduced herself and provided members with a detailed overview of what North Devon Plus have delivered and achieved.


The Programme Delivery Manager provided a summary of the different aspects of the business, the staff that support this work and how they’ve supported local businesses and managed the impact of big change locally.


There was particular interest in the Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) and detail on timescales and planned funding was shared with members. 


During the presentation Councillor Grants were highlighted and it was confirmed to be one of lowest residual budgets last year. It was explained that North Devon Plus also had good intelligence on smaller grants, which Councillors’ communities could benefit from as well. Members were advised to contact the Project Officer for more information. 


The Head of Community and Place provided members with some insight into how the expertise of North Devon Plus has been beneficial for TDC in terms of the project delivery, and how North Devon Plus work alongside the council’s Economic Development Team to support the local businesses and economy.


More details on current projects and programmes North Devon Plus were engaged with were shared, and the Pre-Start Provision (for start up businesses) was also highlighted.


Members were asked their questions.


Following a question in relation to North Devon Plus funding it was confirmed there is core funding of £20,000 from each Local Authority and this is topped up by bid writing. The Head of Community and Place advised how this funding had dropped significantly in recent years and how the organisation had adapted as a result.


Members asked if North Devon Plus supports the charity sector and it was confirmed this was offered through the business support function highlighted in the presentation.  


Members asked what support was available for small start up companies looking to go into the solar panel or heat pump industry.  The REPF was highlighted and the focus on net zero targets. It was explained that the Business Support function of North Devon Plus would be best placed to support those who wanted to operate in this sector, but it was noted that more specific support around this business area could be explored. 


Following a question about the historic funding of North Devon Plus it was confirmed that the statistics regarding support to 4,000 businesses related to 2015 onwards and were equally spread across the years - the scale of support had not reduced due to the reduction in core funding. 


Members asked about the kind of support available to social enterprises who want to access funding like the Community Ownership Fund. The Programme Delivery Manager advised that these groups could access support through the business support function, but North Devon Plus were not able to help write bids.  It was confirmed North Devon Plus could help with the development of business / marketing plans.


Following a question regarding support for smaller scale online businesses the Programme Development Manager advised of the breadth of support available to businesses in this situation and highlighted some of the programmes available.


Following a question relating to the closure of some of the larger retail shops in the high street the Head of Community and Place provided a summary of how North Devon Plus work alongside the Economic Development team – this area of work was more of a focus for the Economic Development team. 


There was a discussion regarding Bideford Pannier Market, and it was confirmed that North Devon Plus could work with the smaller traders, but the larger issues that were raised would be picked up with the Economic Development team. It was also confirmed that the Co-operative set up by the traders at the Pannier Market could make use of North Devon Plus.


Contact details for North Devon Plus were shared and it was confirmed that services were free at the point of use.


Meetings were predominantly online but could be face to face if needed. An exception to this was the Future Farm Resilience consultations, which were nearly always out and about at various farm sites in the local area.


Members requested that the presentation slides be added to Members’ Bulletin


It was also suggested that North Devon Plus could return to the Committee to report back on the effectiveness of the Rural England Prosperity Fund and Shared Prosperity Fund.


Chair thanked the presenters for attending.