£10million boost for projects across Cambridgeshire from UK Shared Prosperity Fund
Funding of almost £10million for dozens of projects across Cambridgeshire under the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) will support communities and businesses across the county.
During last summer, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, working with city and district councils, submitted to government an investment plan detailing how a range of projects could be funded under the scheme.
The government has applied a funding formula which targets areas where need is greatest, including pockets of deprivation in better-off areas. Some of the £9,872,624 funding will be received this financial year and it will end by March 2025.
The projects include supporting small businesses and entrepreneurship, improving careers education for all ages, programmes to build skills, expanding green spaces, exploring the possibility of new cycling and walking routes, reducing flood risk, improving the vitality of high streets and supporting arts and culture. Some of the money will be used to support existing projects with additional funding.
In Cambridge city the £1.3m package will support projects targeting areas of deprivation, with more help for communities and individuals to access opportunities, skills, training and other help to fulfil their ambitions.
Cllr Mike Davey, the city council’s executive councillor for finance, resources and transformation, said: “We are delighted that our funding proposals have been approved and that we will soon be able to embark upon some very exciting projects which will have a real impact on people’s lives in Cambridge.
“Among our priorities are to help those in the most need, reduce inequalities and improve people’s prospects, and this new funding will help us to do even more in these areas.”
In South Cambridgeshire, £1.76million will support projects include improving community gardens and green spaces in communities, support for an existing scheme to create a community centre and local centre at Northstowe, and funding for business start-ups and community groups.
Cllr Peter McDonald, the district council’s lead cabinet member for economic development, said: “The initiatives that have been funded reflect many of our priorities as a council – such as growing local businesses and economies and being green to our core. Importantly, much of the funding will be used to help support our local businesses who have faced a particularly challenging few years.”
In East Cambridgeshire the projects include supporting businesses with grants to stimulate growth, a skills and employment hub based in libraries, and feasibility studies for five new cycling routes.
Several projects also span more than one district or cover the whole of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. One is an all-age careers service, internship support and a comprehensive online skills support service covering the whole region.
Cllr Anna Smith, the Combined Authority deputy mayor, said: “It is very good news the government has confirmed the investment plan submitted by the Combined Authority and I want to thank our partner authorities for their work in putting bids together.
“The funding will benefit every district of the region in so many ways. Now the focus moves to delivery, and I look forward to seeing how these projects make a difference to our economy, to our environment and to our communities.
“There are major inequalities in every city and district in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. It’s a region which is vital to the UK economy, but it needs much more investment to ensure our growth can be sustained, and to make sure that residents and communities can all share in its success.”
Projects to be funded
- Abbey Community Wealth – a social action partnership to improve quality of life and opportunities for people in Abbey ward
- Digital community engagement for refugees and people at risk of homelessness to help them with training and employment
- Providing advice and training support for local businesses most affected by the pandemic and the cost of living crisis
- Green business grants to help small businesses reduce carbon emissions and energy costs in partnership with South Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire district councils
- Enhancing the visitor economy and local markets including by encouraging people to shop and visit local and a youth enterprise programme for disadvantaged and future traders (in partnership with South Cambridgeshire)
- Region of Learning – a new digital approach to providing learning, skills and opportunities for young people from less advantaged backgrounds
- £600,000 towards creating amenities within Northstowe, through the community centre and local centre, including space for people working from home, room for business start-ups and space for community groups
- £300,000 towards improving high streets, with the district council planning to consult with parish councils and residents of larger high streets, along with community building and village hall committees
- Around £270,000 towards skills training for small and medium-sized businesses
- £150,000 towards a scheme to improve community gardens and green spaces in communities, improving quality of life and health. This project will allow communities in areas of identified need to acquire, design, build and maintain community parks and growing spaces with professional support coordinated community action
- £100,000 funding for a scheme based in libraries to support business start-ups, including a focus on females and ethnic minorities looking to establish and grow their own enterprises
- £100,000 to support new business start-ups with grant funding
- Supporting businesses with grants to stimulate growth
- A skills and employment hub based in libraries to help people gain confidence in using computers and the internet
- Feasibility studies for five new cycling routes
- A scheme to promote tourism
- Funding for parish councils to improve green spaces and woodlands