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Council unlocks £1M to deliver major projects across borough

Test Valley Borough Council has unlocked £1M from the government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) to help local partner organisations to deliver six major projects in the area, including creating a new health hub in Andover and supporting community schemes in Romsey.

The government launched the UKSPF with the aim of reducing inequalities and supporting economic development and local communities through the provision of £2.6B of funding.

They had already allocated the six-figure sum to Test Valley, but the council had to unlock the funding by identifying projects that would help deal with local challenges, bring communities together and support economic growth.

The council submitted details of six proposed projects in August 2022 and received confirmation from the government last month that they would be releasing the money.

With the £1M now secured, a contribution of £240,000 will go towards extending the teaching facilities within the Andover College campus to help deliver T Level courses in construction skills, bricklaying and carpentry.

A sum of £280,000 will help council and health colleagues to expand the new Andover Health Hub in the Chantry Centre, which opened earlier this month. The hub will also be complemented by the creation of outreach worker posts, which will be part funded by a £110,000 contribution.

There will be a £100,000 fund created for community energy efficiency and decarbonisation projects across the borough, as well as £140,000 to help local rural land-based businesses to reduce their carbon footprint.

Thirty thousand pounds will go to the University of Southampton Science Park’s Catalyst Programme, to provide innovation-led businesses with commercial expertise and experience through mentoring and peer support from world-class business leaders.

And a new £100,000 fund will help deliver projects identified by Romsey Future to improve public spaces, deliver environmental and infrastructure improvements and increase footfall and visitors to the town.

Leader of Test Valley Borough Council, Councillor Phil North, said: “This is such fantastic news for the borough and our partner organisations who will be leading on these projects. With a particular focus on improving the health of our local communities, driving down carbon emissions in the area and enhancing public spaces, we can expect to see some incredibly positive impacts on people’s lives.

“And in the case of the Andover Health Hub, as well as providing a new facility in the short to medium term to help address poor health through early intervention and prevention, we’ll also be able to better understand the long-term accommodation requirements for those services as part of the town centre regeneration plans.

“I am very much looking forward to following each of the projects as they progress over the coming years.”

The funding covers the three-year period from April 2022 to March 2025.

The aim of the UKSPF scheme is to support the UK government’s Levelling Up commitment through three investment priorities or themes, including communities and place, supporting local businesses and people and skills.