Published: Wednesday, 11th October 2023

More than £230,000 has been allocated to 26 organisations across Medway to make a difference in their local communities.

Medway Council, through its Year 2 of UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), has allocated £230,816 to enhance and support local community infrastructure projects, promote and encourage people to visit Medway, and help to build capacity for local community groups.

In 2022, government announced UK Shared Prosperity Funding of £1.8million for Medway to invest in three key priority areas over a three-year period – community and place, supporting businesses, and people and skills.

During UKSPF Year 1 (2022-2023), £225,000 was allocated to 17 projects to provide support to local businesses as well as projects which promoted and encouraged people to visit Medway. The projects included Medway Light Nights and the Intra Lateral Arts Festival.

This year, through our Pride in Place Fund within UKSPF more than £185,000 has been allocated to 17 projects supporting organisations across Medway to make a difference in their local communities.

An additional nine projects have also been allocated a £5,000 grant each from the UKSPF Feasibility Fund to conduct studies, research or develop business plans which could lead to further investment in projects across Medway. The projects aim to encourage people to visit and explore Medway, support local community infrastructure projects, or help to build capacity for local groups and communities.

Supporting local businesses

Cllr Lauren Edwards, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economic and Social Regeneration and Inward Investment, said: “I am delighted that we have allocated more than £230,000 to a wide range of businesses, charities, and community groups. This funding will help support local businesses in our town centres and encourage communities to come together to celebrate and promote Medway. We are committed to continuing to ensure our town centres flourish and I look forward to watching these fantastic projects progress.”

Town centres are a key priority for Medway and the UK Shared Prosperity Fund programme, so each of the Town Centre Forums who applied to the UKSPF will receive £12,500 each to spend on local priorities to improve the town centres. This funding is a significant opportunity to empower our local communities and businesses in the best way possible, supported by the council, as they are best placed to know what their High Street needs.

Some examples of the wide range of the projects supported are detailed below.

Live Music Now has been allocated £9,500 from the Pride in Place Fund for a series on inclusive community events for families of children and young people with additional learning needs and disabilities across Medway. The six pilot All Together Now concerts, organised in partnership with Medway Council’s library service, will aim to improve access to the arts for those experiencing disabilities.

The High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) Cultural Consortium has been allocated £5,000 from the Feasibility Fund for an Old High Street Intra Parklet feasibility study. The study will explore a novel solution to providing a green corridor in the busy high street to benefit local businesses, improve pedestrian safety and enhance the community and visitor experience. Parklets are parking bay size structures which provide comfortable outdoor seating, framed by a number of planters.

The Pride in Place Fund has allocated £15,000 to the Chinese New Year Festival which is due to be held in Chatham town centre in February 2024. The festival will aim to expand upon the popular traditional parade, with street entertainment and a Chinese market.

Find out more about the Shared Prosperity Fund

Find out more about Medway’s support for businesses

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information visit their website.

News archive