Projects to support Cheltenham’s communities and economy given green light
Carbon busting initiatives, skills boosting schemes, supporting business growth and a new cycle hub are among some of the projects that have been given the green light, thanks to a successful £1.1m funding bid by the council.
Cheltenham Borough Council has received £1,178,035 from the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). It will support the economy by encouraging budding entrepreneurs to start new businesses and by working with existing Cheltenham businesses to help them to grow and develop. The funds will be used to identify development opportunities, foster important strategic relationships, and improve infrastructure in order to attract and retain key businesses and sectors, promoting Cheltenham as a place to live, work, visit, meet, and invest. It will also support skills development to meet the town’s future employment needs by part-funding the new Gloucestershire College Construction & Skills School and supporting a project designed to encourage school children to learn about data, promoting teamwork, confidence, technical skills, problem-solving and cyber career interest.
The plan for delivery has a strong environmental focus with funding for carbon footprint reporting and carbon reduction plans for businesses and the installation of new electrical infrastructure to Imperial and Montpellier Gardens to minimise or remove the need for generators to power events such as Cheltenham Festivals and future festive Ice Rinks. Active travel will be encouraged through the development of a new town centre cycle hub.
The UKSPF replaces the funding local areas previously received from the European Union, prior to Brexit. The council’s plan addresses all three of the UKSPF’s investment priorities:
- Community and Place – strengthening the social fabric of communities, supporting in building pride in place
- Supporting Local Business – funding interventions that support local businesses to thrive, innovate and grow
- People and Skills – reducing the barriers some people face to employment and supporting them to move towards employment and education
Cllr Rowena Hay, leader of the council, said: “This is fantastic news for our residents and businesses, and will hugely benefit a number of partnership led initiatives over the next three years. The council has done a lot of work to support communities and the economy to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and these plans will further build on the work we are doing.”
Cllr Max Wilkinson, cabinet member for economic development, culture, tourism and wellbeing, added: “This funding will support two of our key goals – boosting the economy and getting to net zero. The projects will make a difference to the lives of people across our town. These sit alongside the council-led Golden Valley development, the investment of £180million in more affordable homes – including our first carbon neutral development, as well as the redevelopment of The Wilson. These funds will help us bring even more of our environmental and economic goals into the work we are doing to make Cheltenham a top place to live, work and visit.”
Work to deliver projects will begin in early 2023 with all activity completed by 31 March 2025.