SFA announces £25 million in Renewal Grants for colleges

The Skills Funding Agency (SFA) has announced that £25 million in Renewal Grants is to be made available to colleges.

The SFA Chief Executive, Geoff Russell, has written to eligible colleges to notify them of the funding.

He said: “This allocation is part of our continuing support and commitment to colleges in the modernisation of the FE estate, so as to ensure that high quality learning environments can be provided for all learners.”

Every eligible college will be given a capital grant of £100,000 via the scheme in November.

Colleges will need to contribute at least two thirds of the project cost themselves in order to be eligible.

The SFA says the money will need to be used by colleges in the following areas:

• Improvement in the condition of the college’s estate.
• Clear and direct benefits to learners, in particular learners with learning difficulties and disabilities.
• Contribution to economic and social regeneration to local communities in rural and urban areas.
• Reduction in estates’ running costs and carbon emissions.
• Improvements must be complete and fully operational in time for the start of the 2012/13 academic year.
• The funding is not to be used for any previously approved project.

Eligible colleges can also apply for an Enhanced Renewal Grant, which will give a maximum of £2 million – provided they can match the allocation.

They will be judged through a challenge fund with the following criteria:

• Renewal, modernisation of the FE estate.
• Economic Growth.
• Promoting skills/specialisation.
• Improving facilities for learners with disabilities.

The Renewal Grant is part of the ‘New Challenges, New Chances’ scheme announced by John Hayes, Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning on 16 August.

The programme is a £100 million Capital Programme delivered over two years from this month.

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