COUNCIL chiefs are celebrating after it secured £2.96million to invest in the city from the Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
The money will be used for a wide range of initiatives in the city, including boosting Worcester’s profile as a visitor destination; support for community schemes, the arts and business; and energy efficiency.
The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) is the successor to the European Structural Fund, and this funding allocation builds on the city council’s previous success in securing more than £40million from national schemes including the Future High Streets Fund and the Towns Fund.
Coun Chris Mitchell, leader of Worcester City Council, said: “This is good news for the city, and demonstrates continued support from the Government for the improvements and developments that we are making in Worcester.
“Community groups, businesses and creative organisations will benefit from the initiatives that this £2.96million will support, demonstrating the Government’s commitment to supporting communities in terms of levelling up.”
Part of the UKSPF investment will be used to support Worcester’s growing reputation as a visitor destination. There will be promotions and campaigns to attract more visitors, additional signing to help them explore the city, and improved access to the Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum.
Support for communities will include an expansion of the city council’s community grants programme, and the establishment of a heritage forum and a separate arts and culture forum, both of which would also be able to award grants.
Additionally, the city council will commission a feasibility study into creating a new facility for applied and creative arts in Worcester.
To support the city’s businesses, £150,000 will be used to back research and innovation, and part of the UKSPF money will be used to pay for energy-efficiency assessments of business premises and grants for energy improvements.
This latest award of Government funding is the latest in a long line of public investments in the city.
Improvements to the northern part of the city centre, including the development of a new arts centre in Angel Place, are being made thanks to £17.9million from the Future High Streets Fund.
An allocation of £19.6million from the Towns Fund is supporting a range of projects, including the new Kepax Bridge and other boosts to walking and cycling; the redevelopment of Isaac Maddox House in the city’s Shrub Hill quarter; and a new construction skills training centre in Dines Green.
The redevelopment of the city’s Victorian railway arches as The Arches – Worcester project has been possible thanks to a successful £3.7million bid to the Cultural Development Fund.