The profound effects of £1million of funding are being felt across West Devon, with businesses and community programmes within the borough benefitting within a year of the money being secured.
The funding from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) is being invested in:
- Active and inclusive travel
- “Agri-tech” and regenerative farming
- Business and community support.
Since West Devon Borough Council secured the funding from the Government Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) last year, organisations have received funding and are now delivering projects in West Devon.
Council Leader, Cllr Mandy Ewings, said: “We are choosing quality over quantity with the projects we’re supporting with the UKSPF money. Each of them should have tangible benefits for our communities, our businesses, and our people.
“Whether it’s supporting agriculture, improving the environment for us all, or creating new travel options, everyone in West Devon should benefit.”
Many of the projects have an environmental aspect to them, including improving active travel infrastructure, decarbonising certain business sectors, and helping our farming community to adopt innovative approaches to farming that are better for our climate and ecology.
Funding has been used to support the development of the West Devon Transport Hub, which means cycling and walking infrastructure will be included in the creation of a new railway station in Okehampton.
The “Agri-Tech” aspect of the funding is supporting a range of technologies used in the agricultural sector, to support farming, land management, and food and drink production.
UKSPF money is being used to support the Devon Agri-Tech Alliance, who are working with West Devon farmers to create a test-bed for new and emerging technologies to be piloted on site. Work being done by the Apricot Centre - a CIC aiming to to create and run a sustainable, diverse farm - on regenerative farming and land management is also receiving support.
Tamar Energy Community, an organisation offering independent energy advice and developing community renewable energy projects, will also receive funding to provide support for community energy groups. It will improve the variety of projects they’re able to deliver, and to access funding from a range of sources to support the delivery of heating, insulation and renewable energy schemes in our local communities.
Future projects will include support for local food and drink producers, so they can bring their produce to local markets, like Hatherleigh Market or Tavistock Pannier Market. The aim will be to create stronger links between our communities and the produce they eat and drink.