Council bids for £1.1m to support business innovation and growth

Carbon busting initiatives, skills boosting schemes, supporting business growth and a new cycle hub are among some of the projects central to an ambitious funding bid submitted this week.

Cheltenham Borough Council’s bid to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund seeks support for schemes including: investment into Cheltenham Growth Hub focusing on small to medium enterprises (SME’s) and start-ups, supporting the existing CheltZero partnership to develop carbon footprint reporting and carbon reduction plans, funding the Gloucestershire College Construction & Skills School development scheme through to the planning stage, supporting creative community led projects and working with businesses to deliver a central safe cycle hub and the electricity infrastructure to Imperial and Montpellier Gardens.

The council’s plan has been submitted to the central government’s UK shared prosperity fund, which is being made available to help communities across the UK which replaces the funding lost to local areas and regions as a result of the UK’s departure from the European Union.

Cllr Rowena Hay, leader of the councilsaid: “This plan has been submitted to the Government, which will provide valuable investment over the next three years for a number of partnership led initiatives. The council has done a lot of work to support communities and the economy to recover from the Covid- 19 pandemic and this plan will further build on the work we are doing.”

Cllr Max Wilkinson, cabinet member for economic development, culture, tourism and well-beingadded: “This bid is part of the work to help Cheltenham’s communities recover from the pandemic lockdowns.

“The council-led Golden Valley development is a hugely exciting project and we’ve seen the recent success of the reopening of The Wilson and the Clarence Fountain pocket park, as well as the building of more affordable homes – including our first carbon neutral development .

“But we know we always must do more and this funding bid will help us embed more of our environmental and economic goals into the work we are doing to make Cheltenham a top place to live, work and visit.”

A new Cheltenham Advisory Board will be put in place to oversee these schemes; it will be made up of representatives from across communities and businesses in Cheltenham.

The proposed bid will be considered for allocation by the end of September 2022.

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