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Covid-19 recovery package for struggling communities



The C-CARE (Covid Channel Area Response Exchange) project is to deliver a €6.7million package of Covid-19 recovery support for businesses and people in the UK and France.

C-CARE, funded by the Interreg France (Channel) England programme, will reach businesses and people in the Channel area that have struggled during the pandemic.

The project is the first Capitalisation Project funded by the Channel programme, which draws on the EU's €750 billion coronavirus recovery fund set up to repair the economic and social damage caused by the pandemic.

Led by Kent County Council (UK), the project brings together a range of expertise from local government, enterprise and tourism, to provide vital support to people at risk of exclusion from the labour market and businesses at risk of closure.

C-CARE aims to reach 4,500 people and almost 2,000 businesses through its pilot initiatives which include skills training to help individuals find new routes into employment or starting a business and advice and grants aimed at helping firms reset their business models and explore new opportunities.

It is hoped that the insights and evidence gathered will be fed into local plans, to aid local towns in planning for future pandemics and ensure that necessary measures are in place to support businesses and people adapt in the face of economic shock or changing economies.  

The package of support covers four strands of activity:

  1. Respond, Reflect, Report will enable partners, stakeholders and other Channel projects to review initial Covid-response, gather good practice and bring together lessons learnt in order to shape a new package of Covid-19 response and recovery actions
  2. C-CARE Support for Social Inclusion will deliver targeted support for individuals to develop new skills and tools to help them into employment or start a business
  3. C-CARE Support for Business Recovery will provide direct support to businesses via advice, vouchers and grants aimed at helping sectors hard-hit by the pandemic to develop new business models to respond market changes and ensure a green, inclusive and sustainable economic recovery.
  4. C-CARE Reset and Redesign will develop blueprints for future town centres to improve long term prospects for businesses and work on new ways to tackle social exclusion. This will also look at digital exclusion and food poverty.

The C-CARE project received €6.7million from the European Regional Development Fund via the Interreg France (Channel) England programme. The 3-year project runs until June 2023. Project partners include Norfolk County Council, New Anglia LEP and Plymouth City Council in the UK and  Conseil Départemental du Finistère, Pas-de-Calais Tourisme and Campus d’Enseignment Supérieure et de Formation Professionnelle in France.

Carolyn Reid, Programme Manager, Interreg France (Channel) England programme, added: “We expect C-CARE to make a significant contribution to Covid-19 recovery across our Programme area, helping citizens to re-enter employment and businesses to bounce back. The lessons learned will feed into local plans, that other towns and cities can benefit from.”

Lead partner, Steve Samson, Trade Development Manager, Kent County Council said: “C-Care provides a unique opportunity to build on expertise from both sides of the Channel and test new ways of helping businesses and individuals who have been affected by the impacts of the pandemic. The project will develop digital skills and design new training programmes as well as help organisations in France and England plan effectively for boosting local economies in a sustainable way.”

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