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Huntingdonshire District Council has been awarded £1.8 million via the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).

The Fund will allow areas to target funding where it is needed most - building pride in place, supporting high-quality skills training, supporting pay, employment and productivity growth and increasing life chances against the three UKSPF investment priorities:

  • Communities and Place: enabling places to invest to restore their community spaces and relationships, and create the foundations for economic development at the neighbourhood level. The intention of this is to strengthen the social fabric of communities and thus support building pride in place.

  • Supporting Local Business: enabling places to fund interventions that support local businesses to thrive, innovate and grow.

  • People and Skills: enabling funding to help reduce barriers to employment and support people to move towards employment and education.

Eight projects have been identified in Huntingdonshire to apply the UKSPF:

The importance of walking and cycling as a mode of transport has been pushed to the forefront because of the climate change emergency, health crisis, and COVID-19.

Switching to non-motorised modes such as walking and cycling will help deliver benefits, such as:

  • improved air quality through traffic reduction

  • improved health outcomes

  • increased ability to access employment opportunities for those without their own car or who rely on public transport and

  • enhance town centres.

There is a long-term aspiration to deliver a network of routes. However, it has been particularly difficult to demonstrate that projects in Huntingdonshire are viable due to the lack of a clear picture of where improvements are required and of "oven-ready" schemes.

This has meant that when regional and national funding is available, the council has not been in the best position to access support from County Council officers and meet deadlines which have tended to be short term in their nature.

This project will commission to produce up to five route feasibility studies to support future external funding bids for new sustainable travel routes in Huntingdonshire.

Business and IP Centres across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Libraries provide vital market intelligence/data and support services to earlier stage new start-ups and SMEs. They have had successes, particularly in supporting new start-ups in the under-represented female/BAME groups.

Through this project, HDC is adding to these achievements to fund a two-year dedicated support service to start-ups and SMEs, in addition to a bespoke funding competition to support several new start-ups in under-represented groups.

The resident outcomes of the Corporate Plan refer to preventing crisis and improving the happiness and well-being of residents. For the economically inactive, participation in the labour market is a key mechanism by which these aims might be achieved.

However, there will also be benefits to employed individuals if they can improve their quality of participation in the labour market. However, there are multiple skills offerings in place and schemes and funds already in place to address barriers to skills uptake (for example, Cambs Skills learners fund) and employment (multiple support through DWP work coaches ranging from laptops to interview travel costs).

It is therefore important that this project is carefully scoped to ensure additionality and integration with these often poorly appreciated offers, rather than their duplication.

SMEs require expert support in understanding how they can take steps to reduce their carbon footprint, increase efficiencies and lower their utility costs. This project will support SMEs with a diagnostic programme delivering knowledge and expertise, a bespoke net zero plan with a capital contribution grant for implementation.

Manufacturing is the foundation sector for the Hunts economy. This project seeks to improve the productivity and efficiencies of local SMEs. Through a partnership with MAKE UK we have a dedicated manufacturing sector workstream to support the digitisation and supply chain development for our local economy. Providing diagnostic and consultancy advice on integrating new technologies for Industry 4.0 including a capital grant allowance.

This project will enhance the commitment to a new Produce Hub on the Great Whyte. This proposal will enhance the proposed pedestrianisation of part of the Great Whyte located next to the new Produce Hub.

Programme of intensive series of workshops designed to help candidates through the process, equipping them with the skills and knowledge they need to apply for funding and launch their new business idea.

Through interactive sessions, they will learn about everything from developing a business plan to marketing their new venture. With the expert guidance on offer, they will have everything they need to take those first vital steps towards setting up their own business.

The purpose of this fund is to help our towns and large village centres become more vibrant places. Several activities have been delivered across the district during 2023, including events to celebrate the King's Coronation, with more to come throughout the rest of the year and into 2024.

Activities which can be delivered using these funds include, for example, marketing and promotion of events, local museums or any activities designed to encourage people to visit local businesses and/or support cultural events.

The funding can also be used to deliver new events, for example, summer fayres, specialist markets, and Christmas activities, or it can help to expand and improve existing events.