First allocations of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund announced

Press Release

Published on 13 March 2023
Archived on 13 April 2023

The first allocations of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) for Stratford-on-Avon District Council have now been approved.

Awards totalling just over £406,000 have been agreed which are 13 separate initiatives across the District.

The District Council was awarded £3.6m under this new funding from Government which covers three years. The amount that the District Council will have to allocate will increase in each of the next two years.

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.

Each area of the UK has received an allocation from the fund via a funding formula rather than a competition. Stratford-on-Avon District Council will act as a Lead Authority and has been allocated around £3.59 million of funding for local investment over three years to be spent by March 2025.

The District Council was required to submit an Investment Plan to government on a strategy for distributing this funding, these were approved on 6 December and just before Christmas the District Council launched a call for projects.

The District Council established a Local Prosperity Advisory Group (LPAG) to evaluate the projects received and make recommendations on which schemes should be supported.
LPAG has representation from a number of local organisations and businesses including, Warwickshire Association of Local Councils, Shakespeare's England, Federation of Small Business, Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and Warwickshire & Solihull Community and Voluntary Action.

The Leader of the District Council has recently approved these recommendations which supports projects across the whole of the District including:

  • Support for a number of parish initiatives across the District including:
    • £25,000 for Great Alne Parish Council to upgrade the streetlights.
    • £25,000 for Stockton and £2,500 for Snitterfield Playing fields to upgrade and extend the play facilities.
    • £20,000 for Wixford Village Hall to help replace the Village Hall
    • £25,000 for Volunteer It Yourself CIC to improve Temple Grafton Community Hall.
  • In Stratford-upon-Avon, funding of £25,000 to Escape Arts on behalf of Stratford Youth Community Collective to provide capital and set up costs towards a new venue.
  • An award of £90,000 to Guild Estate Charity (Stratford-upon-Avon Town Trust) towards the cost of converting an empty town centre property into a co-working space.
  • Funding of £125,000 towards the cost of a boardwalk across the reedbeds at the Lench Meadows to allow residents and visitors greater access to this natural environment.
  • A total of £22,380 for Shakespeare's Birthplace for two projects, firstly to transform an empty retail unit in the town into a community wellbeing hub and learning venue and also to improve the experience of visitors visiting Shakespeare Birthplace on Henley Street by transforming the streetscape.
  • £35,000 for StratForward to provide planters for Stratford-upon-Avon Town Centre which also provide information including the historic nature of the town and visitor information.

Following the decision, the Leader of Stratford-on-Avon District Council, Cllr Tony Jefferson said: "I am delighted to be able to endorse the recommendations from the Land Prosperity Advisory Group. There is a great mix of projects from across the whole of the District.

"There are schemes that will stimulate our local economy, help the response to the climate emergency, improve the sense of place and promote the area on a national and international stage but, most importantly, these schemes have our residents at centre stage.

"I am aware that we were not able to fund all of the submissions, however, I would invite those who have missed out to apply for the next years funding, bids will be invited after the local government elections. I would also like to thank the staff of the District Council for responding so quickly to the UKSPF."

Contact details

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

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Last updated on 13/03/2023