Worcestershire Growth Deal, Apprenticeship Awards, Tour of Britain and lots more news from Worcestershire LEP.
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Worcestershire LEP Newsletter

Bulletin no: 37 - July 2014

Introduction from the WLEP Chair -
Peter Pawsey

Well, after weeks of anticipation, debate, speculation and negotiation (right up to last minute, I might add) we now know what we will receive from Government during 2015/6 with some clear indications of our allocations in the following next few years.  The result is great news.  We believe it to be a good deal which will enable the WLEP through its partners to deliver on most of our top priority projects. 

For the record, the headline agreed sum for 2015/6 is £13 million with nearly £40 million earmarked so far for the following few years.  I say ‘so far’ because the Minister, Greg Clark, has advised me that there is still some headroom in the allocations for those years for which we can still bid.  Sums have been earmarked against specific priority schemes but inevitably some priorities will change, some projects will suffer delays for a variety of reasons, but others will come to the fore.  Collectively WLEP has the delegated responsibility from Government to plan and prioritise locally, as we in Worcestershire will be in the best position to make such judgement calls.
Of course we bid for far more funding than we have received and that was to be expected when the total sum across all 39 LEPs in England was about three and a half times oversubscribed, and when about half of the £2 billion total in the ‘single pot’ for year one was already pre-allocated to ongoing transport infrastructure projects.  Incidentally our total bid of circa £280 million was for a ten year period, whereas the sums indicated so far only reflect the first half of that period.  Furthermore, we should also recognise that the County Council and other local authorities have also pledged a further £13.5 million over the next few years and we have also been awarded about £55 million from European Funds between now and 2020.  When we add in the Broadband funding to 2017 now over £25k, the £6 million funding for development at Pershore College, the £11 million DfT funding for M5 J4 reconstruction and a number of other lesser sums provided through other funding streams, we can recognise well in excess of £150 million of Government funding into Worcestershire over the next five or six years. 

All this public funding is targeted at accelerating the provision of improved infrastructure that in turn will generate the faster and greater provision of jobs through commercial developments, of new housing across the county and raising of skill levels and output.  That in turn will require and generate considerably larger private sector investment into Worcestershire.
There are exciting times ahead as we begin to see some of the key projects that have been around for years finally coming to fruition and further lifting the economic output and wellbeing of our county.  Over the next few days and weeks we will be sitting down together with business and local authority leaders to agree a programme with priorities for where the various funding streams will be targeted against the sums now known to be available.

Worcestershire Growth Deal

Projects included in the Growth Deal for 2015/16 are: 
  • Development of the Worcester Tech Park
  • On-going improvement plans to the Southern Link Road
  • Further phases of development at the Malvern Hills Science Park
  • Improvements to the Hoobrook Link Road, Kidderminster
  • A new Centre for Vocational Education
  • Worcestershire Parkway Station
  • Flood alleviation highway works
  • Extension of the superfast broadband roll out programm 
The Growth Deal will bring to Worcestershire up to 3,000 jobs, 1,000 new homes and up to £70m into the local economy from public and private sector investment.
For full details of the Worcestershire Growth Deal, click here.

Worcestershire Social Economic Inclusion Consortium

Our Strategic Economic Plan makes an important commitment to  an innovative approach to Social Economic Inclusion.

A third sector-led Consortium comprising the Worcestershire  voluntary and community sector (VCS), businesses and pubic sector interests is pioneering a new way forwards which will meet business and individual needs. The Consortium and WLEP are working collaboratively with Cabinet Office, Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Big Lottery Fund (BLF) and Skills Funding Agency (SFA) who are united behind Worcestershire's innovative approach.
The Consortium will provide coordinated and personalised packages of support to help working age people who are ‘trapped’ in a cycle of unemployment or low paid temporary jobs or generally excluded from economic opportunity.  The aim is to ensure all people both contribute to and benefit from the growth in the Worcestershire Economy and follow consistent steps on a journey from economic and social isolation into skills training, employment or enterprise.  
All third sector, business and local-to-national public organisations will be able to collaborate and align their  front-line delivery to meet individual needs more effectively. At the same time, this unified vehicle will help Worcestershire LEP to manage future social economic inclusion programme and project bids from organisations and ensure that funding opportunities are maximised.  
A Shadow Board has now been established under the leadership of Simon Murphy, Interim Chief Executive Officer for Worcester Community Trust.
Over the next few months, the Shadow Board will be shaping plans for investment of the European Social Funds and will be holding workshops during the autumn 2014 with its wider community of interests.  More details about the Consortium and its work can be found here.
Please also contact us if you would like to receive future news bulletins from the Consortium.

Rural Development and LEADER programme

The LEP has made a strong strategic commitment to its rural development programme and has been allocated Defra funding of £2.2m to progress major initiatives over the next few years. In parallel, Government has announced that the existing LEADER Programme will continue for the next seven years with a new focus on economic growth and job creation to accommodate smaller scale economic schemes.  
LEADER is a European funded programme which allows local people to identify and implement solutions to problems facing their rural community.  We want to know what you think we should deliver in Worcestershire to have the most significant positive impact for our rural communities. 

Please complete our short questionnaire to help to inform our delivery strategy for the new Programme. 
Although the new programme will not start until January 2015 we are interested to hear your project ideas, so if you've got a great idea for a project please tell us about it!
Before submitting your idea, please refer to the six priorities for the programme, which can be found on the LEADER webpage.

Apprenticeship Awards

Worcestershire LEP has recently announced details of its new county-wide Apprenticeship Awards.
There are 12 categories up for grabs, including Employer of the Year (sponsored by Worcester Bosch Group), Apprentice of the Year (sponsored by The Community Housing Group) and School of the Year (sponsored by Worcestershire Training Providers’ Association). 
Awards will be presented at a special dinner at the Tree Tops Pavilion inside West Midlands Safari Park on 27 November.  Nick Hewer, one of Lord Sugar’s advisers on the hit BBC TV programme, ‘The Apprentice’, will be hosting on the LEP’s behalf.
For full details of all the awards, please click here. Closing date for entries is 8 August.

The Tour of Britain needs you!

No doubt you saw the coverage of The Tour de France when the first two Stages were held in Britain earlier this month. 

At Worcestershire LEP, we’re looking forward to the Tour of Britain coming to the county on 10 September which will help raise awareness of the natural beauty and cultural richness of our county to the wider world. 

At the launch event held at the Hive in Worcester last month, we announced details of the route that Stage 4 of the Tour of Britain will take when it comes through Worcestershire.  Starting at 10.30 am from the Hive in Worcester, you can find full details here.
Volunteers are a vital part of the Tour’s success and race organisers, Sweetspot, have announced that their portal is now open for people to register to help along the route of all Stages of the Tour – including Worcestershire’s.  Here, Volunteers are needed at the Worcester start point and at Sprint and King of the Mountain points in Wychavon and Malvern. 
If you are interested in getting involved, please register via the Tour website.

Chinese Trade Mission

An SME trade Mission to Tianjin and Beijing is being organised for 1-6 December.  The mission is for West Midlands SMEs with a focus on food processing, food technology, food packaging and cleanteach.

A breakfast meeting to find out more is being held near Stafford on 28 July. 

To find out more and/or to register, click here


Upcoming Events

Worcestershire Growth Deal briefing
30 July 
Sixways Stadium, Worcester

The Tour of Britain - Stage 4
10 September 
Starting from Worcester City Centre

Festival of Innovation
1-4 October

WLEP Annual Conference
10 October
Chateau Impney, Droitwich Spa

The Skills Show
13-15 November
Birmingham NEC

WLEP Board Meetings:
24 July
23 September (Away Day)
20 November

WLEP Business Board Meetings
3 September
3 December

Redundant Buildings Grant

County SMEs are again urged to apply for a Redundant Buildings Grant to help them bring unused or unusable property back into commercial use.
A total fund of £1 million is available.  Individual applications will be capped at a maximum of 30% ( up to £100k) of total eligible capital costs of the project.  
For further information click here.

Worcestershire Expansion Programme

A reminder that round 2 of the Worcestershire Expansion Programme (RGF) is now open.
The Expansion Programme is designed to help companies realise their ambitions for growth by offering funding for expansion, capital equipment purchase, support for training and research and development. 
You could be eligible for a grant of £20,000 to £1 million, but will need to apply by the closing date of 8 August.
For full eligibility criteria and details of how to apply please click here or contact James Lloyd or 0750 09 99456.

Regional Growth Fund
Round 6

 Government has recently announced that Round 6 of the Regional Growth Fund is now open for applications.
A pot of £200 m is available to support West Midlands’ businesses who are seeking £1 million or more to develop high quality projects that will generate significant private sector investment and sustainable jobs.
The closing date for this Round of funding is 30 September 2014.

An event is being held at the University of Coventry on 29 July to help those who are interested to make a successful bid.  Further information on the Fund is available here.

Cyber essentials delivered by the IASME Consortium

David Willets MP recently launched the ‘Cyber Essentials Scheme’ in London and the Government is very keen that all companies, especially SMEs become accredited to this.
The IASME Consortium, a micro company based in Malvern, is one of only two companies that can so far deliver this accreditation. 
For further information on how you can be certified to this scheme and to download the Cyber Essentials self-assessment questionnaire, please click here.

Funded training programmes available

 Aston University is offering fully funded training programmes for West Midlands’ based manufacturing SMEs that wish to access the growth benefits of introducing advanced services to their products.
The next two day workshops are being held on 25-26 September and 11-12 November.
For further information please click here, email Eleanor Musson or call her on 0121 204 3580.

Government Mystery Shopper service

The Government has introduced a new twitter account: @GovMysteryShop that businesses can use to find out more about a Mystery Shopper service, to suggest improvements or express concerns regarding the way Government buys goods and services.   Further information is available here.  

Copyright © 2014
Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership.

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Malvern Hills Science Park, Geraldine Road
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