Seven projects which will help increase life chances and support local businesses will benefit from £2 million in government funding.
South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils have been allocated £1 million each from the government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund to provide better community and neighbourhood facilities and improve public open spaces to help increase the health and wellbeing of its residents.
With the new funds, the councils are already starting work to support community facilities to reduce their energy bills and lower their carbon emissions. Another study has begun to see where and how the councils can provide more arts and culture opportunities and leisure activities in areas that need it most.
Businesses will also benefit from the funding over the next two years with projects to support their sustainability, help deliver enterprise facilities and increase peoples’ skills.
Plans include increasing access to green skills courses to help residents gain a new qualification and bespoke decarbonisation advice for businesses to help everyone to move towards a low carbon or net zero economy.
A new strategy is also being developed to promote tourism and encourage visitors to stay in the area to enjoy local attractions.
To help businesses further, the councils will be offering opportunities for local organisations to tender for contracts to help deliver the projects taking place in both districts.
Businesses can also keep up to date on opportunities by signing up for the councils’ Business Support newsletter by visiting the South and Vale Business Support website – svbs.co.uk.
Councillor Robin Bennett, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Regeneration at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “We’re looking forward to allocating the funding over the next two years and confident that we can use it to benefit our local businesses and community groups, helping them become more sustainable both economically and environmentally.
“There’s a perception that because we live in South Oxfordshire, this support isn’t needed, but that’s just not the case – there are major inequalities in our area too.
“We have a variety of positive interventions planned, from making our community buildings energy-efficient to supporting the local visitor economy, and these funds will give us the tools we need to work in partnership with the community to achieve them.”
Councillor Neil Fawcett, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Strategic Partnerships and Place at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “This money will really help us to continue our support of local businesses.
“We can now make plans to provide more connections and enterprise hubs as well as giving residents the opportunity to gain new skills.
“We also want to encourage local businesses to register with us to tender for work planned over the next couple of years. All they need to do is sign up to our procurement portal to find out when tenders have been opened.”