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Individuals and organisations with ideas that will offer long-term benefits to the Shropshire community are invited to bid for money from a new fund set up by University Centre Shrewsbury (UCS) and the Furrows Group.

Applications are now open for the 2017/18 UCS Community Innovation Fund, supported by Furrows.

People who can demonstrate that their initiative will make a difference in the county can apply for a share of the £5,000 fund.

The fund looks to foster partnerships to make ideas happen, by helping to turn proposals into projects, providing start-up funding, offering the time and input of UCS students and staff, and helping networks and neighbourhoods to develop.

Initiatives that will be particularly welcomed will have a focus on UCS learning and research areas which are: Medicine and Health; Sustainable Business and Community Development; Heritage and the Built Environment; Creativity, Culture and Place, and Environmental Science and Technology.

Professor Anna Sutton, University Centre Shrewsbury Provost, said: “The UCS Community Innovation Fund is a fantastic way to build further partnerships with our local communities.

“Our aim is that we will become the first point of contact for Shropshire innovators, who have new ideas about how we can work together to support the county to flourish - a priority for us at UCS.

“It’s important to us to develop new opportunities to enrich Shropshire’s economic, social, cultural and intellectual life, as well as give our students the chance to put their learning into practice.

“Through this fund, local neighbourhoods will benefit from support provided by UCS and Furrows, and our students will gain valuable practical skills that will enrich their university experience.”

Nic Coward, Chairman, Furrows Group, said: “Furrows is delighted to be supporting the Community Innovation Fund.

“We are celebrating 100 years as a Shropshire business in January 2018, and are very proud of all that has been done by Furrows people over the decades in so many different parts of the community.

“The fund is a great opportunity for us to help create new and exciting partnerships, harnessing the expertise and enthusiasm of UCS, for the benefit of communities across the county.”

The closing date for applications is March 31, 2018. Projects identified for support will be funded from May 2018 onwards.

For more information, including an application form, email, call 01743 297185 or visit the reception at Guildhall (SY3 8HQ), UCS’s learning and research base, which is open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and from 9am to 4pm on Fridays.

A partnership between the University of Chester and Shropshire Council, UCS is focused on high-quality teaching and research, fostering entrepreneurship and making a positive impact that reaches as far as possible.

The Furrows Group is a family-owned business which has been serving motorists in Shropshire and the surrounding areas since 1918. Employing about 350 people across sites in Oswestry, Shrewsbury and Telford, the core business is as Main Dealer for Ford, Kia, Mazda and Skoda, with extensive used car and commercial, and full after-sales operations. The Furrows Group also includes finance and property businesses, including its latest major residential development at Prospect House in Belle Vue, Shrewsbury, which is due to be completed in early summer 2018.

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