Cheshire West and Chester Council will receive the full first year (2022-23) funding allocation from The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). Following the approval by The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), a total of £1.805m will be allocated (£1.217m of UKSPF revenue funding, £453k of Multiply revenue funding and £135k of UKSPF capital funding).
The UKSPF was launched by the Government in April 2022 and forms part of the broader Levelling Up agenda. The Council has been awarded an allocation of up to £12,642,312 over three-years, of which £1,497,303 is ring-fenced for Multiply (to support adult numeracy activities).
The Council’s Cabinet has approved the proposals for the allocation of the first-year funding.
Councillor Richard Beacham, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Growth, Economy & Regeneration said: “We have developed our investment plans in partnership with local people from health, education and voluntary sectors, as well as professionals from a range of businesses and other public bodies.
“Our priority for this financial year is to spend our allocation on projects that tackle the big issues faced by residents including the economy and the climate. We want to ensure every area of our Borough benefits from this funding and that’s why we will continue to develop an exciting mix of projects in the coming years which promote good jobs, bring pride to our communities and celebrate arts and culture.”
Future allocations for year two (2023-24 – £3.2m) and year three (2024-25 – £7.6m) will only be ratified by DLUHC at the start of each year, and allocations will be informed by performance in year one.
The People and Skills element of this funding comes on stream in year three so will be restricted to one-year projects.
For more details about the Shared Prosperity Fund visit: https://www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/business/shared-prosperity-fund/shared-prosperity-fund.aspx
The UK Shared Prosperity Fund will be used to help deliver Cheshire West and Chester Council’s vision for an Inclusive Economy. It prioritises reducing poverty and inequality, supporting people to develop new skills and get into good jobs with fair wages, combatting the climate emergency, supporting community wellbeing, and enhancing the vibrancy of the Borough. For more information about the Inclusive Economy: https://www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/business/inclusive-economy
Funding allocations are as follows:
Allocation for year one 2022-23 £1.805m
• Multiply – £453,000
o Improving mathematics skills
• Capital schemes – £129,845
o delivering energy efficiency improvements in community buildings in Ellesmere Port
• Administration of the programme – £54,102
Community and Place – £509,156
• Chester Contemporary £200,000
o Contemporary visual arts festival for the city of Chester and the wider borough. This will include an artistic programme, engagement programme, emerging artist programme, skills development & schools’ programmes and a volunteer programme. Key partners include the University of Chester and Open Eye Gallery. It is anticipated that CC will become a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) and a governing board will be established.
• Youth Investment (Feasibility for local schemes) £68,000
• Visitor Economy £50,000
o Grant to Marketing Cheshire for the development and delivery of Destination Chester 2022-2023 Activity Programme, including development of future sustainability proposals, funded from the Council’s Economic Recovery Budget Programme. This builds on previous (external) grant funded activity to deliver destination marketing, enhanced place positioning, product development, address gaps in data and research and assemble future funding options, with the overall aims of achieving 2019 hotel occupancy levels by end of 2022/23 and increase visitor numbers to attractions to 2019 levels by 2023.
• Community Catalysts Project (part year) £46,656
o Recruiting people from the local community to form micro-enterprises and community interest companies (CIC) to support people with domiciliary care needs
• Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) Chester £45,000
o Council contribution to support cultural and tourism activities in Chester. Contribution made alongside the University of Chester.
• Spacehive £30,000
o Fundraising platform that enables community groups to fundraise for local projects. As well as funding the platform costs the Council also contributes to projects as a sponsor.
• Other Schemes £69,500
Supporting Local Business Revenue spend – £659,447
• REACH West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber programme £30,000
o Providing support for flexible workspaces, start-ups, third sector organisations, exporting and helping employers engage with key Council strategies such as Inclusive Economy, Fairer Futures and Climate change
• Digital lead post £67,155
o Council post working closing with local businesses to understand and respond to their digital needs.
• Inward investment campaign £50,000
o Campaign to increase city centre business occupancy levels with a focus on Chester and the Ellesmere Port ORIGIN site, formally the Ellesmere Port Innovation Area
• Teams Telemarketing £50,000
o Telephone campaign targeting high growth businesses to identify project beneficiaries for a range of future UKSPF Supporting Local Business programmes, building on the work carried out as part of the Additional Restrictions Grant – to support businesses during COVID.
• Let’s Talk Business £70,000
o Refreshing the Business Growth interactive digital platform to support business start-ups and growth businesses access online support 24/7. This funding will also support the ongoing development of a knowledge hub.
• Workspace – empty premises incentives £50,000
o Pilot aimed at supporting businesses to utilise the workspace available across the borough through a subsidised rent scheme for the first three months in a co-working site. This will help encourage re-purposing empty premises and potentially improve high street footfall. The scheme will initially target new pop-ups (especially in the cultural creatives and digital sector)
• Start-up grant £30,000
o Seed funding that will support the REACH project delivered by the Chamber
• Access to finance and investor fund £123,671
o Access to Finance programme will review the current investor landscape at a national, regional and local level, identifying gaps and opportunities and consider different models of delivery. This is to enable local businesses to be better positioned to access finance from a range of sources. The investor scheme will target businesses making large scale growth investment in their business (£40,000 and above) to enable them to expedite their growth plans, upskill employees and recruit new staff. There is a strong pipeline of eligible businesses identified through previous activity.
• Decarbonisation Programme £50,000
o Providing business support, carrying out green audits, future proofing employment sites, developing place-based business park approach to renewable energy/technology and decarbonisation of heritage property eg Chester rows, Northwich Town Centre (building on previous Community Renewal Funding project application)
• Ellesmere Port Levelling Up Bid development £44,832
o Activity to support the LUF bid, which included the Ellesmere Port Town Centre feasibility study aimed at supporting its regeneration, cultural activity and opportunities for entrepreneurism.
• Marketing Cheshire visitor economy platform £50,000
o To develop a digital platform aimed to support Rural businesses
• Other schemes £43,789