West Yorkshire successful in securing £2.5m for community renewal projects

A number of projects across West Yorkshire have been successful in securing funding worth over £2.5m from the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Funds (UKCRF)

Funding worth over £2.5m from the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund (UKCRF)

A number of projects across West Yorkshire, coordinated by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, have been successful in securing funding worth over £2.5m from the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund (UKCRF), but the Mayor of West Yorkshire has criticized the Government for failing to allocate proper long-term funding to deliver levelling up. 

The UKCRF awards funding to local areas to support economic recovery from the COVID pandemic by piloting imaginative new approaches and programmes that unleash potential and instil pride in local communities. It is also a pilot for how the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) will work when it is launched next year.

The successful bids were as follows: 

  • Building Our Future – Bradford Council  
  • Retrofit Hub – West Yorkshire Combined Authority 
  • Buck Wood Community Woodland Masterplan – Inspired Neighbourhoods CIC 
  • A Better Future Post Covid: Empowering Communities in the Wakefield District – Wakefield Council 
  • ‘Go Green' A Curriculum for the future - Wakefield Council 
  • Healthier Working Futures – St James University Leeds 
  • Participation in the Arts and Creative Economy (PACE) - Kirklees Council 

These successful projects link to the Combined Authority’s investment priority areas of improving skills and employment, supporting local business, and investment in communities and place.  

The Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin, said: 

We welcome this funding for the region and are pleased that the Government has awarded so many projects that link to green infrastructure, unleashing the skills and talent of young people and promoting green careers and skills training. 

‘While we are pleased that Government has listened to our concerns and extended delivery deadlines by three months, delays to the funding announcement may still negatively impact some successful bids. It is also disappointing that Calderdale has not been allocated any funding, despite being selected by Government as a ‘priority area. 

‘Small, short-term pots of funding such as this which force communities to compete in beauty contests will do little to deliver on Government’s levelling up promises. We need greater certainty, security and stability of funding for our region, with proper local control over decision making. This would allow us to be more flexible and innovative, unlocking the enormous potential that exists across West Yorkshire. 

‘We will continue to engage Government to ensure the new approach to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund meets the needs of our region.’ 

More details on the projects awarded funding: 

Building Our Future - Bradford Council 

Programme consists of three areas to improve inclusion based on improving access to, and addressing gaps in, national programmes, unleashing the talent of young people to benefit local economy, and boosting capacity in the Voluntary and Community Sector - innovative Digital Cave feasibility study, new graduate placement approach and Leaving Care pilot Employment Programme. 

Retrofit Hub - West Yorkshire Combined Authority 

Project will test a neighbourhood approach as a retrofit programme to address social (hard to reach communities) and technical challenges/barriers (hard to treat properties) in a deprived area in Bradford - includes whole house retrofit assessments, energy efficiency advice and feasibility retrofit specifications to support delivery of retrofit scheme for 100 properties.  

Buck Wood Community Woodland Masterplan - Inspired Neighbourhoods CIC 

Aim is to maximise the huge potential within Buck Wood to create safe healthy communities with access to high quality green infrastructure, ready for post-covid resilience and enabling recovery from the pandemic, by undertaking a feasibility research and development of a new Masterplan and Development Plan for Buck Wood.  

A Better Future Post Covid: Empowering Communities in the Wakefield District - Wakefield Council 

An innovative pilot employing eight recently graduated MSc Business students as Consultant Project Assistants to work with eight community hubs/organisations to undertake a needs analysis to enable them to respond/recover quicker from the pandemic improving strength and resilience. Underpinning this package of support will be a £400k Local Grant Scheme business planning process to achieve sustainable growth.  

‘Go Green’ - A Curriculum for the future - Wakefield Council  

Project aims to raise awareness of the opportunities the green future can bring through a focused, careers guidance plan with clear pathways to skills and training opportunities/job vacancies – developed through a net zero emissions research project to understand actions required, data then used to co-create a green curriculum, with participants undertaking accredited green qualifications.  

Healthier Working Futures - St James’s University Leeds 

Healthier Working Futures is looking to connect young people (facing multiple and diverse barriers to employment) with fulfilling careers in the health and care sector, one of the highest growth employment sectors in Leeds. The approach is innovative, integrated and provides a joined-up pathway from engagement, job readiness and coaching to paid employment and career pathways.    

Participation in the Arts and Creative Economy (PACE) - Kirklees Council 

Aims to increase participation and opportunities in the local arts and creative economy through a range of activities that remove barriers in accessing these sectors amongst young people.  Activities cover community engagement, information, advice and guidance provision, skills development and enterprise and employment support, with wraparound mental health and well-being support across Kirklees.  

About the UK Community Renewal Fund

The UK Community Renewal Fund is a UK Government programme for 2021/22. This aims to support people and communities most in need across the UK to pilot programmes and new approaches to prepare for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. It invests in skills, community and place, local business, and supporting people into employment. For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-community-renewal-fund-prospectus