£3.5m funding for Central Beds to help 'build pride' in communiites - and £1.4m to help adults improve numeracy skills

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Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) has been allocated £4.9million from the Government to help local communities grow and thrive.

Central Bedfordshire will receive £3.5million from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund which is designed to build pride in where people live and increase life chances across the UK.

The funding will support local people to gain “high-quality skills, important training and ultimately rewarding jobs” by investing in targeted local initiatives which promote “employment opportunities, innovation and productivity”.

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It also aims to address challenges faced in town centres and communities by enabling CBC to identify and fund improvements in places where people live and support individuals and businesses.

CBC headquarters, ChicksandsCBC headquarters, Chicksands
CBC headquarters, Chicksands

A CBC spokeswoman said: “The intention is to enhance the things that matter most to local communities, foster local pride and offer opportunities to all.”

The council has also been notified of an indicative allocation of £1.4million from the government’s Multiply programme, which supports adults to improve their numeracy skills.

This will enable the council to invest in appropriate courses for more residents to make real progress in their lives and get good, well-paid jobs.

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Cllr Kevin Collins, Executive Member for Planning and Regeneration, said: "We aim to continue to drive our economy forward at speed, create rewarding opportunities for all our residents and most importantly make them proud of where they live and what Central Bedfordshire has to offer.

"This funding will help us achieve these goals.”

The next step for the council is to submit Investment Plans, which will need to be approved by government, focusing on creating a sense of local pride, creating jobs, boosting core skills, and supporting people into work.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund was launched by government in early 2022 and is central to its ‘levelling up’ agenda, with £2.6 billion of funding set aside for local investment by March 2025.

MP for South West Bedfordshire, Andrew Selous, added: “I am incredibly proud of Central Bedfordshire and know that our best days lie ahead. I am determined to work with the government to ensure that everyone from our area is able to reach their full potential.

“This investment will help to local residents to fulfil their potential, while reducing regional inequalities that have been left untouched for too long.”