Schemes which could bring major economic benefits across the region have received a £240,000 boost from the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
The LEP – the business-led organisation responsible for driving growth across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin – has invested the funding in a series of feasibility studies and a range of other initiatives to support business growth and boost sustainability.
Among the schemes receiving funding is an ambitious project to improve the Castle Street area of Shrewsbury in partnership with the Shrewsbury Business Improvement District (BID) and Shropshire Council.
The LEP also helped with funding for the creation of a series of high-quality videos to sell Herefordshire as a great place to do business and a project to support digital SMEs across Telford and Shropshire in adopting new technology.
Marches LEP chair Mandy Thorn said a total of 11 initiatives had received more than £240,000 of funding from the organisation.
“Each of these projects could play a major part in creating sustainable new jobs, opportunities and growth for a wide range of communities across our region,” she said.
“The LEP is at the forefront of delivering sustainable growth and we were delighted to be able to support such a wide range of imaginative and impressive schemes.”
The LEP provided nearly £20,000 for work to assess the impact of planned improvements to the Castle Street entrance to Shrewsbury in partnership with the BID and Shropshire Council.
Seb Slater, executive director of Shrewsbury BID, said: “We are grateful to the Marches LEP for providing funding for this important piece of work, assessing opportunities for the revitalisation of Castle Street, with our partners Shropshire Council and Shrewsbury Town Council.
“The project report, which will be published shortly, has identified significant opportunities for regeneration and investment in the public realm and we look forward to hearing views from the public and taking proposals forward with our partners.”
A further £19,920 was awarded to Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce’s Business and Culture Working Together project in Herefordshire to create a compelling resource to promote the county as an exciting and vibrant place to work, invest, study, train and visit.
Three videos have now been shot which are available to businesses across the county to boost their marketing and promotional efforts.
Sharon Smith, chief executive of Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, said: “It was important to both the Chamber and Rural Media to be successful in receiving the funding for the Business & Culture Working Together project in order to link together business and culture in the area.
“The project was a great way to empower communities to redefine what makes Herefordshire a great place, while championing and strengthening the vital role culture and heritage plays in a rural county’s social and economic future.
“The films no doubt spotlight why Herefordshire is a great place to live, work and visit.”
Other schemes receiving support included:
Marches Business Investment Programme: £15,000 revenue contribution to Herefordshire Council towards the cost of running this very popular Marches-wide small grants scheme to help businesses expand or develop their offices or premises .
Green Wood Centre: £20,000 to the Small Woods Association to meet the cost of designing and planning for incubation space to support new enterprises.
Low Carbon Opportunities Programme: £25,000 revenue contribution to Worcestershire Council to extend the Low Carbon Opportunities Programme to support SMEs in Shropshire.
Shrewsbury West Sustainable Urban Extension: £30,000 to Shropshire Council towards valuations, option appraisals and development appraisals to progress the scheme.
Herefordshire Heat Network: £20,000 to Herefordshire Council towards a detailed project development study for a district heat network in Hereford city.
Oswestry Employment Land: £30,000 to Shropshire Council to fund development and options appraisal as part of the revised masterplan for Oswestry Innovation Park required to accelerate development.
Bishop’s Castle Workspace Project: £20,000 to Shropshire Council for preliminary work to progress the project to full planning permission and submission of the full ERDF application.
Pathway to Careers: £15,885 to Shropshire Chamber of Commerce to contribute to the development of a pilot Virtual Careers Advice service using 3D and video technology to promote local employment opportunities to young people.
Digital Enterprise: £24,750 revenue contribution to the University of Wolverhampton to deliver a project that will support digital SMEs across Telford and Shropshire in understanding the application of future technology to industry.