UK Shared Prosperity Fund
UK Shared Prosperity Fund – investing in St Albans District
The UK Shared Prosperity Fund was launched by central government in early 2022 to support its ‘levelling up’ agenda. All local councils have been allocated a share of the fund to invest in their areas by March 2025.
St Albans District Council has been allocated £1,598,711 over the next three years.
This can be used to support a wide range of interventions to build pride in place and improve life chances, across three investment priorities:
- Community and place
- Supporting local business
- People and skills
To access this funding, we were required to submit an investment plan in summer 2022.
Our investment plan
In discussion with local partners including the voluntary and community sector organisations, business representatives and other key stakeholders, we identified a mix of activities we will deliver to meet our local needs over the next three years.
To maximise the impact of the fund, we set our local criteria and prioritised the activities to include in the investment plan against these. This included making sure that important work that has been receiving EU funding can continue, and focusing on a few large projects that meet the Council’s Corporate Plan objectives.
The prioritised projects are wide ranging and will benefit local residents, communities and businesses:
- Skills training for those furthest away from the labour market - The fund will support three projects each targeting specific groups - young people, people with learning difficulties and disabilities, and people with multiple complex barriers (such as mental health issues, long-term unemployment, ex-offenders, carers). The projects will be managed by the Herts LEP and delivered by partners including Hertfordshire County Council’s Step2Skills unit.
- Supporting local business - Four projects have been prioritised that will help strengthen the local economy. Three of the projects will focus on the following: provision of general business advice focused on SMEs (small medium enterprises); support for start-ups and new businesses; an online advice portal for employers and students. The fourth project is to contribute towards the development of a Hertfordshire Film Office to promote film and TV-activities. The projects will be managed by the Herts LEP and delivered by the LEP or through other partners such as STANTA (St Albans Enterprise Agency).
- Building pride in place and improving wellbeing - Three projects have been prioritised: improving Verulamium Park lake and surrounding area; developing the events programme to reach a wider audience; and improving community facilities, including a contribution towards building a new community centre in Fleetville. All have an important role in encouraging physical and social activity and are an opportunity to reach some of our most deprived neighbourhoods and communities. However, Verulamium Park and the events programme are also important in attracting visitors to the District.
Year 1 - 2022-23
We were notified on 12 January 2023 that our Investment Plan has been approved and the first tranche of funding was released to us in February 2023. Projects funded in year 1 were:
- Improvements to community facilities: Clarence Park cricket pavilion; Cottonmill Community & Cycling Centre; and the Eric Morecambe Centre
- Funding towards the 2022 St Albans Christmas Cracker and purchase of two event safety barriers
- Improvements to green spaces: replacement boardwalk for Nomansland Common (installation in July 2023); and new dual bins for Verulamium Park (installation due summer 2023)
- Contribution towards Herts Film Office, promoting filming locations around the District
- Contribution towards an archaeological survey in Verulamium Park as part of the Revitalising the River Ver project
Year 2 - 2023-24
We were notified on 28 June 2023 that our second tranche of funding has been approved and the Council will receive a grant determination letters for Year 2 in due course, with payments to follow on afterwards. Year 2 projects include:
- Contribution to the three Council-run street festivals
- Work with community partners to empower them to run events
- Improvements to community facilities
- Contribution towards Herts Film Office (see above)
- Business support projects delivered by Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership
- Skills training and support projects delivered through Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership
Year 3 - 2024-25
Funding for Year 3 will be confirmed in May/June 2024 after receipt of the 2023-24 year-end report.
The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-shared-prosperity-fund-prospectus.
If you need further details or advice please contact SharedProsperity@stalbans.gov.uk.