£28.4m of Shared Prosperity Fund money for Neath Port Talbot’s towns, valleys
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25 January 2023
Members of Neath Port Talbot Council’s cabinet have given the go ahead for five ‘anchor projects’ paid out of £28.4m of core funding from the UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).
The fund is a central pillar of the UK Government’s Levelling Up agenda and across Britain provides £2.6bn of new funding for local investment by March 2025.
The proposed anchor projects for Neath Port Talbot come under the headings of Place, Valleys and Villages, Sustainable Communities, Enhanced Business Support for Growth & Innovation and Employability.
Place projects include the construction of 14 business units within three of our valleys areas, an Aberavon Seafront Masterplan – to provide a strategic basis on which investment decisions can be made and development opportunities identified - and a Neath Port Talbot Heritage, Culture and Tourism Fund to help the delivery of key heritage, culture and tourism priorities.
There will also be a place marketing campaign - raising the profile of Neath Port Talbot as an alternative year round visitor destination, and seeking to change perceptions of Neath Port Talbot as a place to live, work and visit.
The Valleys and Villages Prosperity Fund anchor project seeks to address the decline in our rural areas and will fund projects that create sustainable growth in our rural communities and enhance our valleys and villages as places to live, visit and work.
A £2m grant fund will be established in early 2023 followed by an open call for eligible projects. Eligible activities under this category include commercial property grants, green infrastructure and biodiversity, public realm, town centre markets, shop frontage schemes, a digital towns project, active travel and leisure and recreational facilities.
The Sustainable Communities Anchor Project comprises interlinked projects to support the needs of our communities including a £1m Sustainable Communities Growth Fund to increase support offered to the communities of Neath Port Talbot. The fund will be flexible, with an initial focus on: poverty including the cost of living crisis, transport, equalities, youth activity and community safety.
There will also be a £1m Third Sector Growth Fund managed by Neath Port Talbot CVS to provide grant support for voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises in Neath Port Talbot. The focus of the grants will be on skills development, with a focus on young people and community based measures to support the cost of living crisis and poverty coordination to enhance support for households.
The Enhanced Business Support for Growth and Innovation (EBSGI) anchor project builds on the success (and lessons learned) from the more recent UK Community Renewal Fund ‘Supporting Business Growth & Innovation’ programme delivered by the council’s Economic Development team.
Delivery will be focused on five key areas, support for indigenous growth in key sectors, the foundational economy, financial and specialist support, feasibility studies, developing and implementing social value policies to support the delivery of community benefits.
The employability anchor project will provide a holistic ‘one council’ approach to employability across the county, complementing existing provision. It is proposed it will focus on key strands of activity including school based employability and wellbeing, early engagement activity, paid work opportunities and in-work support.
Cllr Martyn Peters, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic and community regeneration said after the Cabinet met on Thursday, January 19th: “These projects reflect the priorities of the Rainbow Coalition particularly when it comes to place and improving the quality of life in our towns, valleys and villages and we look forward to working with our partners to implement these schemes throughout the county borough.”