Three Portsmouth economic development projects, that received funding of just under £1.6M from the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund, are now underway. Portsmouth City Council was the only council in the Solent to successfully bid for this fund.
The City of Portsmouth College (formally Highbury College) was awarded £324,500 for its Decarbonisation skills support scheme aimed at the construction industry. The University of Portsmouth was awarded £616,427 for its Enabling XR Enterprise (eXRe) project to create skills, boost communities and benefit the visitor and cultural economy. YTKO has been awarded £619,496 for its Portsmouth Start and Grow, a business start-up service.
The UK Community Renewal Fund supports local areas to trial imaginative new approaches and prepares them to take full advantage of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund which is due to go live in the Spring this year. The UK Shared Prosperity Fund was recently announced by the government as part of the Levelling Up White Paper. This will provide large amounts of funding for councils such as Portsmouth City Council to fund economic development projects over the next few years.
Councillor Gerald Vernon Jackson, Leader of Portsmouth City Council, said:
“This is fantastic news for the city. We are delighted that these ground-breaking projects are now underway in Portsmouth. Each project supports our aim to make Portsmouth a great place to invest, learn, live, work and visit and are a catalyst to attract future funding opportunities to boost skills and business.”
Graham Morley, Interim Chief Executive Officer of City of Portsmouth College (Portsmouth College and Highbury College) said:
“There is a critical need to adopt cleaner technologies to support the national and global decarbonisation targets. As a result of our successful bid, we will be upskilling and retraining individuals in Portsmouth and the wider area to ensure our community is well-equipped to thrive in the ‘clean growth’ landscape. Our training will focus on some key areas, including insulation, solar PV, battery storage, heat pumps and electric vehicles, alongside supporting learners with the essential digital skills required to work efficiently. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Portsmouth City Council for their ongoing support. This scheme is a fantastic example of how a collaborative approach can address skills gaps, whilst also creating employment opportunities and supporting local businesses.”
Pippa Bostock, Business Director Centre for Creative and Immersive XR, University of Portsmouth said, ” UK Community Renewal Funding will enable us to work with over 100 businesses in order to support innovation in a variety of ways – focusing upon the Heritage and Visitor Attraction sectors. This is so important for the University, as we want to enable our local community to benefit from the world-class facilities that we are developing and to support our local economy, which is intrinsically linked to these key sectors. Opening our facilities and expertise to the city will provide a huge boost to businesses and organisations and help to raise aspirations and inspire future generations to engage with technology.”
Lee Hughes, Deputy CEO YTKO said “I am absolutely delighted that YTKO has been chosen to continue our start-up and growth support to businesses in Portsmouth through the new UK Community Renewal Fund. Our support will be tailored to help entrepreneurs and businesses navigate the barriers and challenges they face and ensure they gain the skills and knowledge they need to boost their productivity and growth potential. We look forward to delivering more of our award-winning business support with new grant opportunities throughout the region”.
Portsmouth City Council is the lead authority for the bids which was submitted to the UK Community Renewal Fund in June 2021.