Community benefits hub for City Region Deal

A website is being launched to encourage links between good causes and businesses across Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and Borders. Funded by the £1.3bn Edinburgh & South East Scotland City Region Deal, the ESESCommunities.org portal will allow charities in the region to make community benefit requests of businesses in the supply chain of City Deal projects.

The Deal is a joint investment between both the UK and Scottish Governments.

Community benefits are mandatory clauses in the awarding of most public contracts. Examples include businesses committing to apprenticeships, engagement with schools and using local supply chains. It is hoped the new site can extend support to groups focusing on recreation, wellbeing, the environment and social enterprises.

Major projects supported by the City Deal include cutting edge new research and innovation facilities at the Universities of Edinburgh, Heriot Watt and Queen Margaret – as well as developing 41,000 new homes and improving transport links across the 6 local authority areas. The Deal will also deliver new industrial estate units across Fife and the Scottish Borders to support local businesses and create jobs.

Claire Pattullo, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise Edinburgh and Chair of the Regional Enterprise Council stated: “Community benefits can help people and communities to understand how they can positively benefit from public spending. There are already many examples within the third sector across the region which show how people and places have gained additional support through local developments. I would encourage all community groups to visit the ESESCommuities.org portal to find out how they can register their request.”

One project within the Deal will see the University of Edinburgh transform the historic old Royal Infirmary at Lauriston to house the Edinburgh Futures Institute – a major new centre for teaching, research and digital driven innovation (DDI). Commencing £70million of work on the project, construction firm Balfour Beatty have already set about delivering community benefits.

Naila Akram, Head of Social Impact for Balfour Beatty’s regional business in Scotland, said: “At Balfour Beatty, we want to leave a lasting, positive legacy for communities, wherever we operate. We welcome the introduction of Edinburgh City and South Region City Deal’s forward-thinking portal, which will further streamline our community benefit offer and deliver what local communities want and need.

“We look forward to utilising this new resource across our breadth of projects in the City of Edinburgh; maximising opportunities for all.”

Led by Capital City Partnership and created by Fife-based web development firm Horisk Leslie, the site will also host updates on City Deal projects. The portal will be open to all businesses within the region interested in supporting communities, regardless of they are currently in the public sector supply chain or unfamiliar with community benefits.

For more information, visit www.ESESCommunities.org, call 0131 376 1846 or email info@ESESCommunities.org.

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