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Working in partnership for future funding

13/08/2021 Think Piece
Working in partnership for future funding

Helen Simpson OBE, Chair of the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, discusses future investment opportunities for the area, which will help drive the regional economy forward.

We will soon learn whether our region will benefit from a share of £220m.

In recent months, considerable effort across York and North Yorkshire has been invested in bidding into the UK Community Renewal Fund. The Fund is the latest opportunity to secure investment for the region from Government and focuses on skills, community and place, local business, and supporting people into employment.|

York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (YNY LEP) has been helping North Yorkshire County Council with their submission.  The “28 innovative projects” put forward amount to £8.46m. Alongside City of York Council submitting nine priority projects, totalling £1.93m, that represents a strong collective bid from the whole region. The Government has a list of 100 “priority places” for this particular Fund – Richmondshire and Scarborough being the two priorities from our area. We should learn in the coming weeks which projects have been successful.

When investment opportunities like this emerge, it’s vital to make the most from them. Local authorities, the YNY LEP and partners have worked well together to make a strong case for investment. It is great to work together to champion the region as a great place to live, work, visit and do business.

The UK Community Renewal Fund follows on from successful Growth Deals for York, North Yorkshire and East Riding. Led by YNY LEP, more than £145m was committed to a huge range of projects delivering business growth, housing and employment, skills capital, transport and connectivity and flood management.  The Local Growth Fund has been successfully delivered and, as a region, we will see the benefits for many years to come.  It acts as a marker to Government that effective partnership working takes place here, delivering impactful projects on the ground.

The Local Growth Fund has also played a part in this latest bidding process, after money allocated by the YNY LEP was used to enable a series of feasibility studies across the region. These studies have helped shape bids for investment, and provided confidence that projects can quickly bring benefits to communities. That pipeline of projects is particularly useful when tight timescales are in place – the UK Community Renewal Fund for instance has a requirement for projects to be complete by March 2022.

In support of North Yorkshire County Council, the YNY LEP coordinated applications for projects that will support towns, business and employment, skills and green futures. Applicants were also able to refer to recent studies commissioned by the YNY LEP, such as ‘21st Century Towns’ – a major piece of research examining what is needed for the towns and cities in this region to help them flourish long-term.  It’s the same effective partnership working that ensured this region made the most of opportunities of the Local Growth Fund.

The UK Community Renewal Fund acts as a precursor to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, a pledge from Government to replace EU funding and “reduce inequalities between communities”. The proven partnerships working across York and North Yorkshire in recent years will, I’m sure, put the region in a good position to deliver well on this fund too. Strong bids that do not gain funding this summer may also merit further consideration moving forward. We look forward to continuing to work with great colleagues in the region to attract as much inward investment as possible.

My hope is that Government will indeed deliver on their promise of levelling-up the North, providing investment which will continue to boost the economic fortunes of our communities. We’re striving for a greener, fairer and stronger future as we navigate the pandemic – collaboration at a regional level and investment from Government can help get us there.

From an article originally published by The Yorkshire Post, 22 July 2021.

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