” Happy New Year and welcome to the January Worcestershire LEP Newsletter. Obviously we are working through, and working from home like everybody else, but hopefully 2021 will be a much better year than 2020. Much has already been going on for the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, and Worcestershire Business Central have a number of support schemes whether it’s Peer to Peer, small grants or whether it’s EU Exit Support, helping businesses through this tough time. Also the support announced by the Chancellor in relation to business rates, you can get that through your local district councils. And if you’ve got any business support requirements, can I suggest that you contact Worcestershire Business Central, our local growth hub, that can help and signpost you to any development that is going on. Whether you are thinking about growing the business or need to raise finance or just looking at opportunities that could take the business in a different direction, those are some of the things that Worcestershire Business Central can help you with.
In between Christmas and New Year there was excellent news in relation to Kidderminster and Worcester City in relation to the Future High Streets Fund. Kidderminster with over £20M secured to improve round by the Crown House and improve the town centre and quality of life. And also Worcester City with £17.9M awarded to improve the city. So, excellent news for the county in terms of improving our high streets and improving our town centres as we move into this next phase of development and the strategy.
In terms of our Local Growth Fund projects, I am pleased to announce that Churchfields Highway Improvement Scheme has been completed, so all the work is there and equally we are seeing work at further areas of that site. Other schemes like Pershore are starting to get underway and that’s really important to keep that work going as we move forward. Also we are seeing work start on the Getting Building Fund with Hoobrook Island work starting at the end of this month. So really good news that work continues despite the pandemic.
Finally I was proud to host Sir John Peace and Secretary of Commerce Kelly Schulz to sign the Memorandum of Understanding extension between the Midlands and Maryland. This work has been lead by Worcestershire in terms of a technology partnership where we have previously run trade missions. We have a full programme going forward to liaise with Maryland as a partner state within the US across not just the cyber security sector or technology sectors but also life sciences, aerospace and other opportunities working with the Department of International Trade to secure events in the future, that any business can participate in. So we will be keen to advertise those workshops when they are ready.
Keep an eye on the website and keep an eye on our social media, there are a number of business support workshops and a programme of activity launching in the next week or so. Hopefully you are getting through and working hard in terms of January and hopefully there is light at the end of the tunnel as we move into February.”