Aberdeenshire Council seeks views around new Shared Prosperity Fund

An online consultation has been launched seeking views from a wide range of stakeholders on how best to target Aberdeenshire’s allocation from the UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund.

More than £8 million will be made available to the area over a three-year period to build pride in place and increase life chances.

To access this funding, an investment plan is to be submitted to the UK Government in August which will identify priorities to focus the funding to meet local aspirations.

Insight and expertise from a wide range of individuals, communities, businesses, voluntary sector organisations and service providers will help to shape the plan.

More than £8 million will be made available to the region to build pride in place and increase life chances.

Three surveys are currently open, based on the fund’s priority areas of communities and place, supporting local business and people and skills.

The communities and place theme could include investment in places and infrastructure such as town centres, open spaces, community and leisure facilities as well as measures to address the cost of living, community capacity building and tourism campaigns.

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Business support services and grants may form part of the supporting local business theme, as can investment in business or innovation sites.

Other potential priorities include support for entrepreneurship, research and development and the visitor economy.

People and skills investments could support employability services and funding to meet local skills needs.

Other options include increasing digital skills, green skills and community learning and development.

Part of the funding is ringfenced to support adult numeracy through the UK Government’s Multiply programme.

Paul Macari, Head of Planning and Economy at Aberdeenshire Council, said “The Shared Prosperity Fund will provide a significant level of investment in Aberdeenshire in the coming years.

"There are a wide range of potential uses for the funds which can add value to existing funding programmes. We need to ensure that resources are targeted as effectively as possible and focus on delivering against local priorities.

“Canvasing a wide range of views will be instrumental in achieving this and I encourage as many stakeholders as possible to respond to the survey.”

Informal expressions of interest to deliver projects are also invited as part of the survey to help scope out potential demand for funds. Formal application processes are to be introduced after the investment plan is approved.

The surveys can be accessed at engage.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/uk-shared-prosperity-fund-business-plan-project and the closing date for responses is July 24.