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Community Wealth Building given £3m Ayrshire Growth Deal funding boost

A new economic model will be the cornerstone of the Ayrshire Growth Deal as it develops over the coming months.

At a recent  meeting of the Ayrshire Economic Joint Committee, the Full Business Case for the Ayrshire Growth Deal Community Wealth Building Fund was approved and the project was officially signed off  by all partners.

The £3m Scottish Government funding will go towards new Community Wealth Building  officers across the whole of the Ayrshire region to support local businesses and community organisations deliver Community Wealth Building ambitions and a dedicated Fair Work Ayrshire team who will work closely with Ayrshire Anchor Institutions and major employers to establish Ayrshire as a Fair Work region.

A range of targets have been set to ensure that hundreds of Ayrshire businesses are supported over the next three years, with the project expected to commence in Spring 2021 following the recruitment of project staff.

Councillor Joe Cullinane, Leader of North Ayrshire Council and chair of the Joint Committee said: “Community Wealth Building and its principles will be key to everything we do across Ayrshire as we support the economic recovery and renewal of the region.

“The pandemic has shone a light on the inequalities in society and at the heart of the Ayrshire Growth Deal will be equity and inclusivity. The Growth Deal represents a £251 million Community Wealth Building opportunity, with every project delivered with a focus on sharing the benefits and rewards from the investment across our communities.

“Our Community Wealth Building ambitions have already grown significantly in recent months with the launch of our Anchor Charter during Challenge Poverty Week 2020 and the expansion to an Ayrshire-wide Community Wealth Building Commission, positioning Ayrshire as the first Community Wealth Building region in Scotland.”

“This £3m Community Wealth Building Fund will provide support to our businesses at a time when support has never been more needed and create a regional economy based on wellbeing and inclusion.”

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson, said:

“It is great to see projects progressing positively since the signing of the Deal last year, helping Ayrshire become a leading area for inclusive growth in Scotland.

“I am delighted to see the Community Wealth Building project move into delivery. This project backed by £3 million of Scottish Government investment will advance the procurement, employment, ownership and asset pillars of Community Wealth Building, across the public, private and social economy of the region; ensuring that Ayrshire can be an exemplar for the rest of Scotland in Community Wealth Building.

“The Scottish Government is committing £103 million pounds to the Ayrshire Growth Deal, which will help drive future growth and prosperity and unlock investment. In a period of economic uncertainty and challenge, delivery of the Ayrshire Growth Deal is more important than ever with the projects re-invigorating the regional economy.

“Across Scotland we have so far committed more than £1.9 billion over the next 10 to 20 years to City Region and Growth Deals and additional investments.”

The £251m Ayrshire Growth Deal will see a range of projects delivered with a clear focus on innovation, productivity and inequality.  The deal will create new business spaces, improve infrastructure and connectivity, and boost research and development ventures, while growing local talent and providing new opportunities and routes into employment for people throughout Ayrshire. 

Construction at HALO Kilmarnock is already well underway to transform the former Johnnie Walker site into a dynamic commercial, educational and advanced training hub, with focus on sustainability and low carbon energy.

Other projects already progressing include the National Energy Research Demonstrator Project in Cumnock, which will develop leading edge technologies for energy generation and storage.  At Prestwick, a major programme will strengthen its position as a UK centre of excellence in space and aerospace, while the development and regeneration of The Great Harbour, at Irvine Harbourside and Ardeer, will create a unique coastal tourist destination.

The Deal will also look to greatly improve digital connectivity across the region. The proposals represent a tremendous opportunity to improve the wellbeing of communities and the economy.

View the full report here.