South Lakeland Projects Earmarked For £448,000 UK Shared Prosperity Fund

South Lakeland District has earmarked £448,000 of government funding for projects aimed at building pride in place and increasing life chances.

The money from the government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund has to be used for projects which boost productivity, pay, jobs and living standards; spread opportunities and improve public services; restore a sense of community, local pride and belonging; and empower local leaders and communities.

Councillor Robin Ashcroft, Portfolio Holder for Economy, Culture and Leisure, said: “South Lakeland District Council has been working with stakeholders to develop our local investment plan which will ensure our allocation is used in the most effective and efficient way to support the government’s investment priorities.

“This investment plan for Year 1 funding will bring enormous benefits to residents, while the close collaboration with Barrow and Eden councils will ensure a solid foundation for the collective funding being used in the best possible way by the new Westmorland and Furness Council.”

The fund replaces the previous EU-funded structural and regional development programmes, the European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund.

The projects have to fit three main investment criteria, grouped into themes of Communities and Place, Supporting Local Business, and People and Skills.

South Lakeland District Council has £448,000 allocated for Year 1, which must be used by March 31, 2023.

The approved Year 1 projects which received money from the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund are:

  • Inspira – £44,301 for The Key, an established employment programme currently delivered throughout Cumbria. Barrow will also contribute £78,656 and Eden £22,927 so that this scheme can continue to operate across the Westmorland & Furness area;
  • Cumbria Tourism – £92,294 for a marketing and promotional campaign to support South Lakeland’s arts, cultural, heritage institutions and assets and the area’s wider cultural offer through the winter of 2022/23, increasing visitor numbers and engagement;
  • Cumbria Action for Sustainability – £92,294 in South Lakeland and £9,171 in Eden to extend and expand the Cold to Cosy, Retrofit Advice Service and Solar Made Easy schemes which help households improve energy efficiency and access solar power;
  • South Lakeland District Council – £95,000 to refurbish SLDC-owned units at 16 New Shambles and 28 Finkle Street to provide affordable modern retail and office premises for lease to businesses.

Funding has also been given for feasibility studies to:

  • Lake District National Park Authority – £45,000 for a feasibility study to assess the design and deliverability of improvements to Windermere railway station as part of the Windermere Gateway scheme;
  • Kendal Futures – £40,000 to review Kendal’s key town centre traffic junctions to create a plan for placemaking proposals which contribute to active travel;
  • Save Grange Lido – £20,000 for feasibility study of renewable energy options, including all mechanical and electrical aspects of the restoration of the lido;
  • Save Grange Lido – £15,000 for a feasibility study on pool design.

South Lakeland’s total allocation for the three-year deal up to April 2025 is £3.8m.

There has been collaboration between the three districts on preparing their Year 1 investment plans, as well as consent from the shadow Westmorland & Furness authority.

After the vesting day of Westmorland & Furness Council on April 1, 2023 the allocations for South Lakeland District Council, Eden District Council and Barrow Borough Council for years two and three will align into a single plan.

A Local Partnership Group for the three areas made up of local stakeholders was established to oversee the development of the Investment Plan and provide advice on the strategic fit and deliverability of projects during the selection process.