In April 2022, the government launched the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).

The UKSPF is a key part of the Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion for local investment across the UK by March 2025.

The Fund aims to:

  • improve pride in place
  • increase life chances
  • invest in communities, people and skills
  • support local business

The Fund has given us over £1.1m to deliver the aims of the UKSPF. The annual breakdown of this funding is as follows:

  • 2022/23: £142,389
  • 2023/24: £284,777
  • 2024/25: £746,117

We submitted our local Investment Plan in summer 2022, which the government approved in December 2022.

In 2022/23 and 2023/24, we have funded the following projects using UKSPF:

  • enhancement of our Discretionary Fund Grant, which provides revenue grants of up to £10,000 for voluntary and charity organisations,with 15 discretionary grants made to date
  • development of a local business support programme, which included social media training, the Lean2 Green programme (supporting businesses to develop decarbonisation plans) and ‘Get better in Chelmsford’ programme (providing marketing support)
  • supporting the work of the North Essex Economic Board (NEEB), a partnership between nine local authorities, working together to promote economic growth across North Essex. NEEB has used UKSPF to fund business support via the Let’s Do Business group, who support both start-ups and those businesses looking to grow. 114 businesses supported, with 41 in Chelmsford (data correct as of January 2024)
  • delivery of Skills Fest, which took place in June 2023 and saw over 1,000 Year 8 students from seven Chelmsford secondary schools attend to learn about career opportunities
  • a holiday hunger project that took place in summer 2023 and served over 500 hot lunches across a one week period
  • Chelmsford For You campaigns to celebrate Chelmsford’s identity and narrative
  • new gazebos for the high street market
  • the Active Health referral programme, making over 300 referrals (data correct as of December 2023)
  • Sport for Confidence, which helps people with physical or learning disabilities to access leisure activities. It has had over 2,000 attendances and introduced new activities ,including ice skating and dodgeball (data correct as of December 2023)
  • a feasibility study in partnership with Mid Essex Livewell Alliance, Braintree District Council and Maldon District Council, to assess health inequalities and improve population health
  • the delivery of a range of smaller programmes focused on developing healthy and active lives
  • supporting the launch of a social supermarket, providing discounted food to those in need
  • a feasibility study on East Chelmsford Cycle Connections
  • developing a Chelmsford Retail Against Crime Partnership, to share crime data and reduce retail crime in the city centre
  • a feasibility study to explore how we can support the creative sector, including data mapping

The Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) offers complementary funding to the UKSPF, targeted at supporting rural businesses and communities.

The government has given us £400,000 from the REPF to deliver projects across the next two years. In 2023/24, we can offer £100,000 of funding, with the remaining £300,000 available in 2024/25.

We submitted our REPF Investment Plan in November 2022, which the government approved in April 2023.

You can find out how to apply to the REPF.

Further information

If you have any questions about Chelmsford’s UKSPF, you can contact the Economic Development Team.

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