Stratford-on-Avon District Council's Cabinet approves new approach to Year 3 Shared Prosperity and Rural England Prosperity Fund


Published on 15 January 2024
Archived on 15 February 2024

On Monday 15 January, Stratford-on-Avon District Council's Cabinet agreed a new approach to the Year 3 funding applications for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) and Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF).

The District Council's Economic Development team has now completed the allocation of funding for projects for Year 1 and Year 2, following annual calls for projects. Year 3 runs from April 2024 until March 2025 and this funding helps support delivery of the South Warwickshire economic development strategy and actions.

The proposed approach for Year 3 will comprise:

  • Joint working with Warwickshire County Council to deliver the Education, Skills and Training element of the UKSPF for Year 3.
  • The District Council managing the commissioning of a capital project under the Skills project directly.
  • An extension for an additional Year 3 of some of the selected Business Support grant agreements awarded under Year 2.
  • The District Council continuing to manage in-house the open calls for Year 3 Community and Place and Rural England Prosperity Fund projects.

Cllr George Cowcher, Planning and Economic Development Portfolio said: "By adopting these changes for Year 3 funding, it will reduce duplication and the need to hold unnecessary additional competitive calls for projects, as well as allowing the continuity of existing programmes that are working well. 

"In addition, it also lets us use the collective experience and knowledge of partners who have run similar programmes, such as working with Warwickshire County Council on employment support and skills development with their Warwickshire Skills Hub.

"The People and Skills landscape is challenging, and the programme aims to provide opportunities and support to build confidence within individuals to participate in new activity."

The year 3 funding budget is as follows:

Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF)


Community and Place


Supporting Local Business


Employment support and skills development - People and Skills development


Total SPF


Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF)


Total SPF and REPF


Community and Place/Rural England

The District Council will continue to hold an open call for both Community and Place projects and Rural England Prosperity Fund as these are more specific place based requiring local community knowledge.

Supporting Local Business
The District Council has approached some of the existing business support projects to offer an extension to the current Year 2 contracts into Year 3, finishing in March 2025. This also supports the county-wide business support programme with other Borough and District Councils in Warwickshire and provides more continuity and momentum, as well as providing better value for money and simplifies the offer for businesses.

Employment support and skills development (People and Skills)
The District Council will work jointly with Warwickshire County Council and other Boroughs and District Councils in the county to shape the commissioning of a specific tender for People and Skills activities, utilising the expertise of the Warwickshire Skills Hub in a complex delivery landscape.

The aim of the UKSPF skills funding will be to support individuals within a network of ongoing existing activity, without actively cutting across or duplicating existing partner work programmes.

The benefits of a joint commissioning approach include:

  • Shaping the specification, joint approach to procurement and oversight of implementation and reduced costs of administration.
  • Economies of scale and greater value for money and better programming with the benefit of county-wide skills benchmarking.
  • Clarity of marketing, branding and communications.
  • More effective streamlining of referrals with the County Skills Hub and other regional strategic skills partners and bodies.

The scope of the programme will be focused on inclusive growth (unemployed and the economically inactive), young people, in-work training and progression, and supporting future green careers within the District.

These four areas provide the greatest opportunity to target specific areas of need, scale programmes with the funding available and to co-ordinate more effectively with suppliers as part of the wider skills ecosystem.

Cllr Cowcher continued: "Above all, these funding streams enables the District Council to work with our partner organisations to achieve positive outcomes and benefits for the District, supporting a programme of business support through different delivery partners."

  • The UK Shared Prosperity fund (UKSPF) is a £2.6 billion funding pot, announced as part of the Government's Levelling Up programme, to be invested in communities by March 2025. Each area of the UK has received an allocation from the fund via a funding formula rather than a competition.
  • The UKSPF is a mix of revenue and capital funding that can be used to support a wide range of interventions to build pride in place and improve life chances.
  • £3.6million was awarded to Stratford-on-Avon District Council by the Government through the UKSPF, with a further £1,015,143 for two years available through the REPF, a separate fund focused on addressing the specific challenges faced by rural areas. All the funding must be invested by 31 March 2025.
  • The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) is a central pillar of the UK government's ambitious Levelling Up agenda and a significant component of its support for places across the UK. The fund is part of a suite of funding which begins to replace the previous European Structural Funds and aims to empower local lead authorities to identity opportunities to build pride in place, improve the places in which people live and supporting individuals and businesses to thrive, by:
    • Boosting productivity, pay, jobs and living standards by growing the private sector, especially in those places where they are lagging
    • Spreading opportunities and improve public services, especially in those places where they are weakest
    • Restoring a sense of community, local pride and belonging, especially in those places where they have been lost
    • Empowering local leaders and communities, especially in those places lacking local agency.

  • The Rural England Productivity Fund (REPF) provides small scale capital funding specifically in support of:
    • New and existing rural businesses to develop new products and facilities that will be of wider benefit to the local economy; this includes farm businesses looking to diversify income streams.
    • New and improved community infrastructure, providing essential community services and assets for local people and businesses to benefit the local economy.

Year 1 Funding - Cabinet approves 37 projects for share of UK Government's Shared Prosperity Fund and Rural England Prosperity Fund | Stratford-on-Avon District Council

Year 2 Funding - First allocations of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund announced | Stratford-on-Avon District Council

Further information regarding the UKSPF can be found here:

Contact details

Stratford-on-Avon District Council
Elizabeth House, Church Street,
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire,
CV37 6HX
Tel: 01789 267575

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Contact: The Communications team

Last updated on 15/01/2024