Thu. Aug 11th, 2022

Isle of Wight Observer News

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Isle of Wight Council to submit bid for £1.73m of Government ”Shared Prosperity” funds

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Isle of Wight Council to submit bid for £1.73m of Government ”Shared Prosperity” funds.

A recommendation to submit a detailed bid of £1.73 million for the Government’s ‘Shared Prosperity’ funds will go in front of councillors later this month.

The July 14 meeting of the Cabinet will discuss the Council’s Investment Plan bid to the UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund, a key part of the “Levelling Up” programme

The application addresses three UK wide themes: ‘Communities & Place’, ‘Support for Business’ and ‘People & Skills’.  In addition, funding is also available for ‘Multiply’, a new national numeracy initiative.

Under the banner of ‘Communities & Place’, a proposed bid for £370,000 is being considered. This will include funding to help lead regeneration work across the Island, and also includes helping people with disabilities into work. Additionally, it will support local arts, culture, heritage and creative activities.

To meet the fund’s ‘Support for Business’ theme, it is suggested that a bid is made to finance another two years of Innovation Wight’s successful business courses to help facilitate economic growth.  A similar extension is proposed for a mentoring progamme for businesses on the island successfully piloted in 2021 and support for Older people to start businesses hosted by the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce The total sought for this theme is £300,000.

Under the ‘People and Skills’ banner the Government’s priorities include helping increase skills and learning in adults with fewer qualifications.

The Council’s bid of £390,000 will include working with Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation (HIOWCF), who have developed a pre-employment “Skills for Work” programme delivered to residents in deprived areas through partnerships with Island based housing associations. Personal advisors work closely with unemployed people to help them remove any barriers to them entering work. Due to the success of this approach, it is anticipated extending the course to April 2025.

There is evidence that the supply of skilled labour in being able to retrofit existing Island properties to become more energy efficient is a key concern and the number of companies based on the island holding the appropriate accreditation to undertake this work is also insufficient to help meet projected demand. For these reasons, funding is sought for an Island Green Skills programme.

Helping businesses with management training to support recovery from the pandemic will also attract support.

This theme has a close relationship to the UK Government ‘Multiply’ programme which has allocated £666,594 to the Isle of Wight for the period 2022-2025.

Focused on helping those without numeracy skills in accessing work, The Council’s Adult and Community Learning team have a number of course and personal support opportunities that can be extended and enhanced by this funding including specific support for improving numeracy ability in sectors of the workforce facing recruitment challenges.

Councillor Julie Jones-Evans, the Cabinet member for Levelling Up, Regeneration, Business Development and Tourism said: “While the allocation of funds to the island doesn’t reflect the scale of the challenges we face, our proposal will bring over £1.7 million to the Island and a range of projects between 2022 and 2025.  It will enable us to lead regeneration projects in Ryde, Sandown, Shanklin, Ventnor, Cowes, East Cowes & West Wight and continue our work in Newport.  It will help older people start their own businesses. It will improve also labour skills, particularly in the crucial area of improving energy efficiency in our homes. 

“With our new focus on Cultural Regeneration, this prospectus also acknowledges the huge contribution that culture is and can make in the future make to the Island’s economy.

Furthermore, it will enable us to help small businesses improve management skills and their prospects for growth, as well as improve numeracy skills of Islanders and thus help their job prospects.

 We will also be able to extend projects that already have a track record of success with partners such as the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce and Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Foundation and continue to improve the prospects of both small businesses and individuals across the Island.”