A government fund aimed to support struggling coastal communities will provide £64m of investment over the next three years.

The Coastal Communities Fund, set up in 2012, is designed to support small business growth and to create jobs, training schemes and apprenticeships.

The winners for 2012/2013 round were announced today, with £27m distributed among 20 coastal projects across the UK.

Winning proposals included £1.38m to support startups and small businesses in Torbay, Devon and £1.2m to establish a food court at the newly regenerated Hastings pier.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles said:

“We’ve seen enormous enthusiasm for this government fund and had to make some difficult choices but the projects we’ve chosen will create thousands of jobs and help many start-up businesses.

“This money will help these towns tap into new business opportunities that will create jobs and boost skills that will benefit the whole community.”

The size of the fund is equal to 50% of the Crown Estate’s marine assets. Funds can be used to support both capital and revenue projects and communities are encouraged to match funds with other pots of money.

Applications for the next round open today and the deadline is 30 April 2014.

Photo by Andreas-photography