Cherwell District Council’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) investment plan has been approved by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, unlocking a £1.25 million pot of money for the council to invest in the district by March 2025.
The plan focuses on five themes, which will steer how the funding is used. The themes are as follows:
- Business retention and growth
- Green economy
- Investment in urban centres
- Community and cultural development
- Enhancing life chances and economic opportunities for our most vulnerable residents
Cherwell District Council will receive the funding from the government in three annual instalments, with £152,000 in the first year, £304,000 in the second year and £798,000 in the third year.
During year one, the council will be investing in several relatively small, ready-to-go projects, while feasibility studies to prepare the way for future years are also being delivered in year one.
In years two and three, external partners will also be involved in the delivery of Cherwell’s UKSPF projects, and details will be available in due course about how applications can be made to access elements of the fund.
The Investment Plan sets out how the £1.25 million funding will be used.
- £460,000 is allocated to ‘community and place’ with a focus on urban centres, greater access to arts and culture, community infrastructure improvements, development of local green spaces, and investment in new community sports facilities.
- £545,000 is allocated to ‘supporting Local business’, mainly in years two and three with a focus on measures to help start-up, growing and urban centre businesses and to support businesses in meeting the challenges of climate change.
- £250,000 is allocated to ‘people and skills’ in year three (2024/25) and will be focused on employment support for economically inactive people, ensuring local skills match the needs of local businesses and ‘green skills’ training.
Councillor Ian Corkin, Deputy Leader of the Council and Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Economy, said: “We’re working to make Cherwell a more prosperous and fulfilling place to live, work, and do business, and this very significant funding award from government is a fantastic opportunity to help us do that.
“We’ve got a clear plan for how to use this money from the government: over the next three years, people will notice some of the really positive improvements we’ve got planned.
“They include high quality skills training and support for new and growing businesses. We will also be investing in community infrastructure such as new sports grounds and the development of new green spaces to increase people’s life opportunities.”
Cherwell’s plan was developed in collaboration with community and business representatives and sets out a vision for supporting communities, growing businesses, and improving the skills of local people.