Published: Wednesday, 12th July 2023
Four local community organisations from the Scottish Borders are some of the first to have received funding through the new UK Government Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF)
The fund, which forms part of the UK Government’s Levelling Up agenda, aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK by investing in communities and supporting local business, people and skills.
Some local communities who have benefit from the fund are:
The Newcastleton and District Community Trust who have been awarded £284,000, which will enable them to progress the first phase development of community-owned land at Holm Hill.
The project aims to promote walking and cycling in the area by providing infrastructure to create pathways and mountain bike trails. New forest plantation and design work will be used to take forward further stages of phased development, enabling Newcastleton to improve tourism and sustain economic growth.
Scottish Cycling has been successful in securing £242,798 to hire regional trail co-ordinators. The roles will play a key part in developing the Scottish Borders as a European Mountain Bike Capital for the future.
Co-ordinators will assist communities and businesses across the Borders in building skills throughout various mountain biking competencies, help build relationships with local landowners and provide support to develop business packages and bike-friendly accommodation.
Archaeology Scotland were awarded £83,604 to develop a pilot scheme, piloted last year, which will enable young people to develop transferrable skills through alternative methods using archaeological dig sites and outdoor learning activities.
This project will focus on upskilling underrepresented groups and young people to enable progression to employment as well as the opportunity to gain a certificated award.
The Southern Uplands Partnership received £120,539 to assist in upskilling employees in local small and micro businesses in ‘green awareness’ training which will help local businesses transition to meet UK and Scottish Government Net Zero targets.
The project will address the gaps in green skills development for local trades and small businesses. The development of trade organisations will enable businesses to join together to secure larger construction contracts which may otherwise be picked up by organisations outwith the Borders. Support will also be provided to generate interest in young people to help sustain the Borders trades industry for the future.
The projects had previously been selected by the UK Government in 2022 to undertake a pilot scheme to ensure the feasibility of new ideas under the Community Renewal Fund.
Further awards have also been approved to support Place Planning and Employability projects. A full list of successful applications is available online
Councillor Scott Hamilton, Executive Member for Community and Business Development
“A huge congratulations must go to the communities and organisations across the Borders that have been successful in their award applications.
“The projects will be key in teaching people new and adaptable skills to assist them into work whilst also assisting local infrastructure developments.
“The continued investment in our Place Planning projects will provide the necessary resource to ensure towns and rural communities develop their own plans, providing the necessary evidence of demand to access funding from external as well as local funds for community projects.”
Community groups interested in funding for new projects can download an Expression of Interest form