Blackpool to bid for £5m prosperity funds

Blackpool is currently preparing a bid for £5m which will be used to improve the general quality of life and overall wellbeing in the town.

The government’s Shared Prosperity Fund is designed to build pride in place and increase life chances across the UK.

Blackpool would invest the money in a range of initiatives including eco-coaching, flood protection, intensive employment support and community art projects. 

Following a rigorous evaluation process with input from the public, private and voluntary sectors through the Town Deal Board and its Town Deal Investment Panel, 13 capital and revenue projects have been agreed under the themes of people and skills, supporting local businesses and community and place.

Combined, the schemes will provide a wide range of support from physical town centre regeneration, through to direct business support encouraging existing and new business development, low carbon schemes and community skills and improved learning projects for residents.

Under the theme of people and skills the council is seeking to access £812,000 for three projects – Youth Hub, known as The Platform, which opened on Cookson Street earlier this year; Pathway to Employment providing intensive support for unemployed residents and the Let’s Get Digital project to improve digital inclusion.

£1.2m has been allocated to supporting local businesses through a variety of schemes including enhanced business support to increase entrepreneur and business engagement. Much of this will be driven through The Edge, a Town Deal-funded project currently under development at Stanley Buildings.

£2.89m has been allocated to community and place. This theme includes eco-coaching for residents, the creation of two eco-hubs and an incentive for resident property owners to invest in flood protection measures.

There is also a proposal to improve public realm and transport in the town centre. The feasibility of extending the Grundy Art Gallery and Library along with the continuation of Showtown’s community engagement project has also been put forward.

A requirement of the fund is to invest £770,711 to support the national Multiply programme which aims to reach adults over the next three years to improve their functional numeracy skills.

In order to receive the funding an investment plan has to be submitted detailing the proposed schemes, benefits to the community and expected outcomes.

Coun Lynn Williams, leader of Blackpool Council, said: "The Shared Prosperity Fund is a welcome boost but it has been challenging exercise to decide which projects to put forward for approval. We want to make the biggest impact possible with the funding that has been allocated to us.

“We have ensured that the investment plan ties in with our existing strategies so we can enhance projects and initiatives that are already under way.”

The Shared Prosperity Fund Investment Plan will be submitted to the government ahead of the 1 August deadline with approval anticipated in the autumn.