THE first annual report highlighting the achievements and progress of the Ayrshire Growth Deal has stressed that ‘better times are ahead’.
Since the Deal was confirmed at the end of 2020, which signalled the beginning of £250 million targeted investment into the region, partners have been working to develop projects that will generate jobs, prosperity and hope for Ayrshire.
It is expected that the Deal will spark further private investment of at least £300 million and generate 7,000 jobs over the next ten years.
Despite the many challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the first annual report showcases some of the key achievements in the first year since the Deal was signed in November 2020.
- The low carbon Enterprise and Innovation Hub at the HALO Kilmarnock will open its doors to its first occupants in Spring 2022 and is AGD’s first tangible project
- The £3 million Community Wealth Building has moved into delivery and is providing support to businesses and creating a regional economy based on wellbeing and inclusion
- The £5 million ‘Working for a Healthy Economy’ project has also moved into delivery and is providing targeted interventions and coaching support to help those struggling to maintain secure and meaningful employment
- Glasgow Prestwick Airport (GPA) and Astraius (launch service provider) have entered commercial discussions and have engaged with Civil Aviation Authority to commence licensing process. Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between GPA, Astraius and South Ayrshire Council have been signed.
- Confirmation of site for CoRE – Community Renewable Energy - project and early concept images of the building have been developed
- MOU has been signed between North Ayrshire Council, Peel Ports and Scottish Enterprise which will drive forward the short, medium and long-term plans for a key part of the Hunterston PARC site, which comprises the operational port areas.
- MoU signed between North Ayrshire Council, University of Strathclyde to help future proof key process manufacturing industries, such as pharmaceuticals, food and drink and chemical products
- Exciting and unprecedented collaboration with academia including University of Stirling, University of Glasgow, University of Strathclyde, Caledonian University, University of West of Scotland, Ayrshire College.
Over the coming months, it is expected that a number business cases will be approved - ensuring projects are implemented.
The Working for a Healthy Economy project will focus on engaging further with businesses and employed residents who require support. It has already engaged with 167 unemployed people and has had a significant impact in improving mental health, wellbeing and helping people back into work
Community Wealth Building Business Locality Officers have been successfully appointed and will engage with businesses – to ensure local firms play their part in ensuring employees are supported and have proper security - as part of the Fair Work Ayrshire element which commenced at the end of 2021. So far 87Ayrshire businesses have been supported.
Councillor Peter Henderson who is Chair of the Ayrshire Economic Joint Committee “The last year has been an extremely successful one and a lot of things have been put in place that will provide a platform for us to bring projects to fruition over the coming years.
“Perhaps the biggest positive in our first year since the Deal was confirmed is the number of partnerships with industry and academia that have been established. Having that level of expertise and skill is a massive asset and will ensure we are in a really strong position over the coming years.
“We are delighted to publish our first Annual Report and look forward to providing further updates over the coming months. As it says in the report, we are extremely confident that better times lie ahead for citizens, businesses and our communities across Ayrshire.”
Scottish Government Economy Secretary Kate Forbes said: “I welcome progress since the Scottish Government invested £103 million in the Ayrshire Growth Deal to develop projects which create sustainable jobs and boost prosperity in communities across the region.
“We are pleased to be contributing to the development of aerospace and tourism projects, amongst others, that build on the strengths of Ayrshire’s economy. The Scottish Government will also provide up to £3 million for a Community Wealth Building project to ensure local people and businesses benefit from public investment.
"Projects like these are helping create high value jobs and developing skills needed by current and future industries to underpin inclusive regional economic growth. I look forward to further advances in the years ahead.”
UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said: "The Ayrshire Growth Deal will bring prosperity to communities across the region and 2022 will see more of its exciting projects beginning to deliver.
"Ayrshire has many strengths and is packed with potential; the UK Government is investing £103m in the Growth Deal plus a further £27m for levelling-up projects in the region to help unleash this."
The Deal has a number of priorities, these are: Aerospace and Space, Economic Infrastructure, Tourism and Energy, Circular Economy and Environment.
The major projects include:
- £80 million investment that will position Ayrshire as one of the UK’s leading centres of Aerospace and Space activity
- £23.5 million to create the Ayrshire Manufacturing Investment Corridor (AMIC)
- £16 million Ayrshire Engineering Park will provide expansion and development of Moorfield industrial Park in Kilmarnock, creating serviced and high-quality business space
- £21 million investment into the i3 area of Irvine building on current Life Science businesses on site to create a national digital process manufacturing centre and premium business space
- £14 million tourism investment at Irvine Harbourside
- £9.5 million in Marine Tourism, which will focus on securing infrastructure that supports key components such as sailing and boating, marine leisure, and recreation in Ardrossan, Arran and Cumbrae
- £24.5 million Community Renewal Energy Project at Cumnock
- £18 million to support the Hunterston Strategic Development Area’s blue, green and circular economy potential
- £10.5 million for a new International Marine Science and Environmental Centre (IMSE) based at Ardrossan
- £8.5 million for a skills and inclusion programme
- £14 million digital innovation programme
The AGD website was also successfully launched in February 2021 promoting the Deal and the range of ambitious projects for the region. The website – www.ayrshiregrowthdeal.co.uk - will provide more details and give regular updates and progress reports.
Tweets from the AGD Twitter account are being issued regularly promoting the website, as well as growing our social media presence. Follow the Deal on: https://twitter.com/ayrshiredeal