£10 million Government funding secured to support communities, jobs, skills and growth in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough
Funding for a package of projects worth almost £10 million to help boost growth and reduce inequality across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough has been confirmed by Government.
The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) has been brought in to replace EU funding for regional projects and aims to give local leaders a greater say in how money is spent. In April the Government announced that the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority area would receive £9,872,624 in funding from the UKSPF.
Over the summer the Combined Authority, working with the local city and district councils, submitted to Government an investment plan detailing how a range of projects could be funded. The Cambridgeshire Public Service Board, made up of local authorities, supported the development of the plan.
Forty projects will now receive funding, most of them centred on individual district or city council areas, and the rest covering more than one area. The funding will start to be received in this financial year, ending by March 2025. The Government has applied a funding formula which targets areas where need is greatest, including pockets of deprivation in better-off areas.
The projects submitted in the investment plan cover a wide variety of areas. They 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.
The list of projects that have been approved for funding can be found on the Combined Authority website via this link: UK-SPF projects final. The investment plan was submitted to Government and the Cambridgeshire Public Service Board (CPSB) was engaged to support the plan’s development.
In Cambridge city the projects include targeting areas of deprivation, with more support for communities and supporting individuals to access opportunities, skills, training and other help to fulfil their ambitions. There is also a programme of one-to-one support for youth enterprise, start-ups and local small businesses, particularly those most impacted by Covid-19 and a green grant scheme to help address the recent increases in business costs.
In East Cambridgeshire the projects include supporting businesses with grants to stimulate growth, a Skills and Employment Hub based in libraries, a scheme to help people gain confidence in using computers and the internet, feasibility studies for five new cycling routes, a scheme to promote tourism, and funding for parish councils to improve green spaces and woodlands.
In Fenland projects include a scheme offering grant funding for businesses which want to innovate and grow, initiatives to reduce anti-social behaviour by engaging young people in arts and culture and other productive activities, additional support for the culture and heritage assets of the district, and a scheme to reduce fly tipping.
In Huntingdonshire, projects include feasibility studies to make the case for future investment in five cycling and walking routes, digital support for small and medium-sized businesses in the district’s important manufacturing sector to improve productivity and using libraries as a base to help small and start-up businesses to grow, including a focus on helping women and people from ethnic minorities. There are also projects to improve people’s access to skills, to improve arts and culture activities in town and village centres to increase visitor numbers, and a project in Ramsey to improve the high street.
In Peterborough, projects include support for an existing scheme to improve the Millfield area, new youth hubs packed with state-of-the-art facilities offering young people with activities and support, and a scheme to increase and retain digital skills, which will also create more digital industry opportunity in the city. Another scheme will help the city mitigate flood and climate change risks with an adaptation plan supporting residents and the economy to be more resilient.
In South Cambridgeshire projects include a scheme to improve community gardens and greenspaces in communities, improving quality of life and health. UKSPF funding will also be given to support an existing scheme to create amenities within two planned buildings at Northstowe, the Community Centre and Local Centre, including retail space, food and drink outlets, space for people working from home, for business start-ups and space for community groups. Funding will be provided for a scheme based in libraries to support business start-ups, including a focus on woman and ethnic minorities looking to establish and grow their own enterprises. A separate scheme to support new business start-ups with grant funding is also part of the package.
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.
Deputy Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, Cllr Anna Smith, 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. As a Combined Authority we will continue to do everything we can to make the case to Government for further funding for our region. 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.”
UKSPF was launched by the government at the beginning of the year and is central to its Levelling Up agenda, with £2.6 billion of funding set aside for investment into the UK by March 2025.