This week the Government have supported plans by West Lindsey District Council to invest £2.7m of UKSPF into businesses and communities across the area. Much of this funding will be available to communities and businesses through two flagship grant schemes and the Council are working with the Government to launch the schemes by April 2023.
This announcement comes hot on the heels of the submission of plans to support rural community infrastructure and connectivity and rural businesses through the investment of just under £800,000 as part of the Rural England Prosperity Fund.
In order to access the REPF, the Council has been asked to identify activities that concurrently match the objectives of the fund and address local rural business and community challenges. This capital grant fund, provides an opportunity to address those rural challenges - linked to lower productivity rates, poor connectivity and limited access to services.
Four specific interventions have been selected for Government approval by the council including:
- supporting non-agricultural farm diversification, for example conversion of a redundant farm building into a holiday let
- supporting the development of West Lindsey’s Agri-Tech sector, such as the procurement of a 3D printer to develop concept models
- improved community broadband provision and rural connectivity, such as the installation or upgrade of WiFi in a village hall or pub
- improving rural community infrastructure, such as the procurement of equipment to deliver a community service
Councillor Owen Bierley, Leader of West Lindsey District Council, said:
“We’re delighted to finally hear that our plans for UKSPF have been supported by Government and I am confident that our communities and businesses will soon start to see the benefits.
“REPF now provides us with an excellent, locally-led opportunity to build on the impact of the wider interventions proposed in our UKSPF Investment Plan, supporting specific activities that have often missed out on accessible funding historically. Like UKSPF, the interventions have been identified based on evidence of local need and following highly positive stakeholder engagement and we look forward to working with them on shaping delivery and launching the schemes next Spring.”
Director of Planning, Regeneration and Communities, Sally Grindrod-Smith said:
"We have been working hard to ensure we are in a good position to contract with Government on the UKSPF so this week’s announcement is most welcome. We have taken our work on the UKSPF and further embraced the opportunity to submit plans for the REPF.
“Our proposals include support for the Agri-Tech sector in the District, which is a strategic signal from the Council that the emerging local cluster is an important element of future economic growth. Capital grant provision will be catalytic by supporting the creation of higher value jobs and new economic opportunities - helping to level-up and address economic under-performance in the West Lindsey economy.”
The Government is expected to make the first REPF payments to councils during 2023 after reviewing and approving the addendum.
For more details on the fund visit the Government’s website: Rural England Prosperity Fund: prospectus - GOV.UK
For more details on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund bid submitted by the council read the following related article