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Regional publisher to help distribute £4m cashpot

A regional publisher will help to distribute a £4m cashpot to boost businesses in the county after successfully bidding for government funding.

The CN Group was one of four partners led by the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership to apply for the cash under the government’s Regional Growth Fund to help small and medium-sized businesses in Cumbria.

The group, which publishes the Carlisle-based News and Star, the North West Evening Mail, The Cumberland News and in-Cumbria, has launched a drive to urge companies to apply for the funding to help them expand and create new jobs.

Also involved are Cumbria County Council and Cumbria Chamber of Commerce and the initiative has been launched under the banner Unleashing Cumbria’s Potential.

CN Group deputy publisher David Helliwell said: “Smaller businesses are the lifeblood of local communities, providing products, services and jobs and putting money into the local economy.

“Through no fault of their own, many struggle to get the added financial help that allows them to meet their potential.

“We are delighted to be involved with this scheme which we believe could be a real lifeline to enterprising businesses of all sizes, operating in all kinds of markets.”

The minimum grant available could be as low as £10,000 and will typically cover between 10 and 40pc of the total cost of a project.

George Beveridge, interim chairman at the Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “We’re delighted to have been successful in accessing this funding to help Cumbrian businesses expand.

“This LEP programme bid opens this growth opportunity up to those businesses and will make a real difference to Cumbria’s economy.”

Applicants for funds will be asked for details of their expansion projects and why they need a grant, with those that can demonstrate they will create jobs having the best chance of success.

The £4m fund is part of a larger £5m pot and the remaining £1m, which will be distributed separately, will be targeted at businesses in low carbon and clean technologies.