West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) has successfully been granted more than £5.4m in funding from the Government to boost the local economy over the next three years.
The funding, provided by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), is the largest allocation in the South East Midlands and will be used to improve people’s life chances, increase skills, create stronger communities, and support local businesses.
The Council submitted its investment plan back in September and underwent a robust consultation process which involved engaging with stakeholders to identify priority areas that would benefit most from a share of the funding.
The funding will be split between three key areas; “Communities and Place” and “People and Skills”, with the largest portion assigned to Supporting Local Businesses.
Some expected outcomes from the funding include:
An additional £1.9m has been secured as Multiply funding, which is specifically targeted at improving adult numeracy to advance people’s chances of progressing their careers.
Delivery partners are currently being invited to bid for contracts to help the council deliver these numeracy courses for residents aged 19+.
WNC has also been allocated a further £1.367m from the Government under the Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF), which is a top-up of the UKSPF and aims to support small business and community infrastructure specifically in rural areas.
Final approval for this element of funding is expected in the New Year, with funded programmes to commence in April 2023.
Cllr Dan Lister, Cabinet Member for economic development, town centre regeneration and growth, said: "We are delighted to have received final Government approval for this funding which will help us to provide the best possible support to residents, businesses and communities in West Northamptonshire, as well as increasing opportunities, skills, development and training to those most in need.
"We have worked closely with stakeholders, community groups and local partners to analyse the greatest needs for this funding, and most importantly, to deliver economic prosperity in West Northamptonshire, making it a place where everyone will thrive."
The UKSPF is a central pillar of the UK government’s ambitious Levelling Up agenda and a significant component of its support for places across the UK. It provides £2.6 billion of new funding for local investment by March 2025 and replaces European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF) funding.
More information about the UKSPF can be found on the Government website.