''BREXIT ensures this year will never be forgotten, but despite the uncertainty, we have once again exceeded our targets. More importantly, our investments are delivering real change and impact to local people and businesses.
Our investments are about making a difference. They are about ensuring the infrastructure is in place so that businesses can grow, and people can access the help they need, creating more, better quality jobs and a local workforce with the skills they need.
First the hard numbers. It’s really important for a small LEP like ours to deliver on our promises to government. We need to ensure we have a reputation for making things happen so that when bidding opportunities arise, our track record demonstrates we are ambitious and capable of delivering real impact in the region. I am pleased to report we are doing so. Our target this year was to invest an ambitious £23.7m in Local Growth Deal funding, and we have exceeded that by investing £27m. We are ahead of schedule, and great schemes such as Malton Agri-Food Park and North Northallerton are underway.
Elsewhere, we have supported 4,570 businesses mainly through our Growth Hub How’s Business, which has yet again exceeded target this year. In addition, 45 schools are now actively engaged in our Careers & Enterprise Programme, ensuring the link between education and employment is stronger than ever before.
With £45m of new business support and skills programmes launched this year, people and businesses across York, North Yorkshire and East Riding are now able to access the help and support they need to grow, increase productivity and secure good quality jobs.
Making the investment is just the starting point however. The real satisfaction comes when developments are completed delivering real impact on the ground. 2016/17 has seen some key developments finish.
Probably the highest profile has been Tadcaster Bridge. The whole of the country saw the footage of the bridge collapsing in the December 2015 floods, splitting the town in two. We worked with local partners and government, not only to rebuild the bridge, but to widen it, making it easier for residents to access the high street, supporting the great small businesses which trade there. This has been a real success story. Out of adversity, the town has pulled together and bounced back stronger. In April, the town hosted the start of the Tour de Yorkshire, bringing much needed visitors and more publicity to the town.
On the same day as the bridge re-opened, we also celebrated the opening of the Askham Bryan Agri-Engineering Centre. These world class facilities provide the training and skills for the next generation of agricultural engineers, supporting our widespread agricultural sector so important to our economy.
With our investment in Harrogate College also complete, we have been fortunate to see two fantastic new training facilities opening, creating the opportunity for the next generation of workers to get the skills our economy needs, in a modern, state of the art learning environment.
Elsewhere on the Yorkshire Coast, houses at Middle Deepdale are being built and sold, just at the time when work at York Potash, having secured its planning permission, has started. As the project moves from concept to reality, delivering new jobs and opportunities, it is important we are able to offer good quality houses for a growing, high calibre workforce.
Of course none of this would happen without our partners. We are incredibly fortunate to enjoy a strong relationship with all our local authorities, whilst the area review of our further education colleges demonstrates high quality provision, increased partnership and collaboration.
2017 promises to be another great year. A new Industrial Strategy alongside Brexit will create new opportunities. As a region delivering on its promises, with world class assets and real ambition, we are ready to capitalise when the opportunities arise, continuing to deliver the real growth opportunities our area deserves'' Riding Enterprise Partnership.