Supported by several partner organisations, OxLEP has secured £8.4m-worth of investment, set to benefit many of the county’s emerging sectors and communities.
The Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) – working alongside private and public sector partners from across the county – have secured £8.4million-worth of investment from a newly-created Government-backed fund, giving businesses and communities an all-important boost following the COVID-19 outbreak.
The ‘Getting Building Fund’, originally announced by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier this summer, sees the Government provide investment for a range of projects nationwide, with the aim of accelerating the UK’s economic revival.
Local Enterprise Partnerships across England were asked to bring forward ‘shovel ready’ projects to the Government, that had the potential to drive forward the country’s fiscal recovery from Coronavirus.
Today (4 August), OxLEP has announced that funding for Oxfordshire will support a number of emerging clean energy projects in the county, creating hundreds of new jobs in the process.
Several ‘Getting Building Fund’ projects will back Oxfordshire’s emerging green economy and low-carbon initiatives, whilst there’s recognition of the potential ‘changing face’ of work patterns with a rural gigabit voucher programme being introduced, set to provide greater broadband capabilities to predominately rural areas in the county, encouraging more people to work from home.
In total, the ‘Getting Building Fund’ will support seven programmes around the county.
Collectively, these Oxfordshire-focused schemes are set to lead to the creation of 472 new jobs – as well as an additional 43 construction-focused roles – with the Fund also ready to safeguard a further 324 jobs.
Funding has also been secured to help boost the county’s small business community too.
The Fund will back emerging businesses through the introduction of new co-working spaces, as well as the regeneration of a number of existing work units across the county.
Meanwhile, a newly-launched Economic Renewal Capital Fund – to be overseen by OxLEP Business – will support scalable businesses thanks to co-investment grants of up to £50,000 for capital projects.
The full list of ‘Getting Building Fund’ Oxfordshire projects are as follows:
The Energy Systems Accelerator Pilot
A co-working space at Osney Mead in Oxford, supporting UK innovation in net zero-carbon systems. This pilot will inform final design and operational practices of a full Energy Systems Accelerator project.
Economic Renewal Capital Fund
Overseen by OxLEP Business, this grant fund will support scalable, small to medium-sized businesses through grants for projects that back business transition to net-zero, amongst other priorities.
Oxfordshire Town Centres Renaissance Programme
A programme to tackle the projected increase in vacant units in Oxford city centre and the county’s market towns. Vacant units will be transformed into spaces for a diverse range of uses.
Digital Investment Plan – Rural Gigabit Voucher Programme
A countywide, Gigabit Voucher Scheme for building gigabit capable residential broadband infrastructure in predominantly rural areas.
Westmill Energy Visitors' Centre
A new visitor centre for the Westmill Energy Organisations near Shrivenham. This community-owned renewable energy project is the only combined wind/solar site in the south of England.
Clinical BioManufacturing Hub
Enabling works to expand the Headington-based Clinical Bio-Manufacturing Hub. This enhanced facility will support SMEs to undertake clinical trials of new biological medicinal projects.
Green Construction Skills Centre
This new centre in Abingdon will help meet the forecast demand for green construction skills by offering a variety of training programmes including areas such as low or zero-carbon new build and retrofit construction.
Nigel Tipple – Chief Executive of OxLEP – said: “Working with our business community and our local authority partners, we are delighted to secure funding for the county and be able to support such a diverse range of programmes and projects.
“We believe this financial support will not only accelerate our businesses’ ability to recover from the devastating effects of COVID-19, but also bring real benefits to our wider communities too – including greater access to reliable broadband and investing in the right skills development programmes for our young people to enjoy careers in emerging, zero-carbon focused sectors.
“The investment secured through the Getting Building Fund can also support the UK’s wider economic recovery ambitions too. As a county, we are home to some of the world’s most-innovative companies, respected academics and passionate entrepreneurs – with this in mind, and working alongside our key partners, we will continue to highlight the economic strengths we have here in Oxfordshire.”
Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Simon Clarke MP, said: “We want to build back better to fuel a green economic recovery across the country by investing in infrastructure, creating jobs and building the homes people need.
“That is why, we are investing £900 million in shovel-ready projects through our Getting Building Fund, including £8.4m in Oxfordshire.This funding will unlock homes, create new jobs and deliver investment in commercial and green spaces and a much-needed boost to the local economy.”
LEP Network Chair, Mark Bretton, added: “As business led partnerships with a ready-made pipeline of projects, LEPs responded swiftly to the Prime Minister’s call for infrastructure projects with more available when government is ready.
“LEPs’ ‘can do’ business attitude has created a proven track record of complex delivery, landing projects at scale, on time and to budget. The foundations they are building for local recovery in their Five Point Plan will underpin our national recovery.”
In the coming weeks, OxLEP will publish further, more in-depth details of the each Getting Building Fund project – please follow OxLEP on social media to find out more.