Work is well underway on nine projects that will each play their part in helping to ‘level up’ Lancashire, support recovery from Covid and kickstart progress towards a net zero carbon economy.
The projects were funded as part of Lancashire’s bid to the government’s £220m UK Community Renewal Fund, which will support revenue projects that will deliver by June 2022.
The funding is intended to help ‘level up’ areas, including those places hardest hit by Covid-19, and support the UK’s path to net zero carbon emissions.
Lancashire County Council led a local bidding and appraisal process before submitting a bid to government in the summer, which ultimately secured £3.4 million for Lancashire.
One of the successful projects will see a neglected Grade II Listed former bank on Bacup’s high street transformed as a low carbon community space for co-working and residential accommodation.
The ‘Decarbonising Rossendale’ project will provide an opportunity for the community and businesses to understand and learn what the low carbon future will look like, driving local action towards net zero.
Work is well underway on the project, which is being led by Valley Heritage, a not-for-profit organisation that aims bring Rossendale’s historic buildings back into use.
Valley Heritage has been awarded £261,849 towards the scheme.
County Councillor Shaun Turner, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for environment and climate change, said: “The Decarbonising Rossendale project is a brilliant example of the community coming together to preserve its past to create a better future.
“The climate change emergency affects us all and this is just the kind of commitment, innovation, and investment that is required to help further build on progress towards a net zero carbon economy.
“We all need to play our part if we have any chance of creating the cleaner, healthier, future for Lancashire, and projects like this are a big step in achieving that ultimate goal.”
Another not-for-profit organisation to benefit from the fund is Procure Plus Holdings, which specialises in the procurement of goods and services for a wide range of social housing clients.
Procure Plus Holdings has been awarded £105,400 for the ‘Building Lancashire’ project, which aims to support people from across Lancashire into employment in the construction industry and allied sectors. The money will be used to fund non-traditional construction roles not covered by other funding, including low/zero carbon, heating, electrical and support roles.
Burnley Borough Council has been awarded £994,083 for its Growth and Innovation Fund, which will distribute grants businesses to help them recover from the pandemic. The East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce and Industry has also been awarded £700,000 to provide business support for firms developing new low carbon technologies and to help develop training for non-traditional construction roles.
County Councillor Aidy Riggott, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for economic development and growth, said: “The local economy been massively impacted by the pandemic, so it’s important that we take every opportunity to increase investment in Lancashire and get back on track.
“This vital funding will help to speed the recovery of those places in Lancashire that have been most affected by the pandemic and support the wider goal of achieving a net zero carbon economy.
“By working together, the Community Renewal Fund will help deliver some extremely worthwhile projects that will help create a more productive and more sustainable Lancashire.”
The full list of successful bids to the Community Renewal Fund can be found here: UK Community Renewal Fund: successful and unsuccessful bids – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)