First published in the Worcester News on 19.06.2015
I would like to start by congratulating all of the businesses shortlisted and who won awards at the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce Awards last week. It was an excellent evening with an export theme which highlighted the support available from UKTi for those considering growing their business and exploring overseas markets.
At the Worcestershire LEP we are very much focused on delivery. As mentioned in previous columns, the WLEP was awarded £54.2m from the Government through the Worcestershire Growth Deal to be spent between 2015 and 2021 on agreed economic projects to develop infrastructure and skills as outlined in the 10 year Strategic Economic Plan (SEP).
The Growth Deal funding is now starting to be available for these projects and in the last two weeks a programme of work has begun to provide greater access and improve traffic flow on Pershore Lane for the Worcester Six site. This is one of the County’s key employment sites which once complete will provide over 5,000 jobs. Worcester Six has been described as one of the best undeveloped sites between Birmingham and Bristol and so it is really good news that this work has started.
The Worcestershire LEP is also responsible for a £60m EU programme which provides specific grant funding to support businesses and the training of people with a focus on moving individuals into work. The calls for EU funding started earlier this year in March and the latest funding call is from the Big Lottery Fund. Communities across Worcestershire could benefit from a share of £30m which is being made available across the West Midlands. The project in Worcestershire will improve access to lifelong learning and support to boost the local economy working alongside local employers – please do check the LEP’s website www.wlep.co.uk for details or the Big Lottery Fund website at www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/esf at the earliest opportunity. This is part of the LEP’s remit to ensure businesses, local government, higher and further education work together with a common, shared purpose – to create the conditions for economic growth, increasing prosperity and delivering the 10-year Strategic Economic Plan for Worcestershire.