Shared Prosperity Funding
Background and Context
Ashford Borough Council has been successful in securing its’ allocation of the UK Government's UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) and Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF). The council's allocation is £1,016,512 for UKSPF and £593,508 for REPF.
Both funds are linked to the UK Government’s Levelling Up White Paper and aim to support interventions in the key themes of Communities & Place, Supporting Local Businesses and People & Skills. The funding is allocated for work between 1 April 2022 and 31 March 2025. Further information about both funds is available on the UK Government website.
Following consultations with a wide range of stakeholders and having received expressions of interest, Ashford has gained approval from the UK Government to proceed with interventions and activity identified in our Local Investment Plan (UKSPF) and Addendum Plan (REPF).
Ashford Borough Council’s Investment Plans are:
The UKSPF activity falls within three Priorities, ‘Community and Place’, ‘Supporting Local Business’ and ‘People and Skills’. The REPF activity falls within two categories, ‘Supporting Rural Communities’ and ‘Supporting Rural Businesses’. Within the approved Plans, Ashford Borough Council has identified 10 key interventions across these priorities and categories which have been allocated funding. The table below provides the outline funding allocations which may be subject to change in accordance with UKSPF guidance.
Ashford Borough Council spent 41% of its 2022-23 allocation (£50,488) with underspent funding being allowed to be rolled over into 2023-24 by Government.
|Priority / Category||2023-24||2023-24||2024-25||2024-25|
|Communities and Place||£76,531||£161,650||£134,304||£200,889|
|Supporting Local Business||£0||£63,224||£0||£43,159|
|People and Skills||£0||£0||£0||£250,000|
UKSPF funding can be used across the whole Ashford Borough, including Ashford Urban Area, whereas REPF funding can only be used in the rural areas as defined by Defra. An interactive map is available on the Defra website (in the menu on the left hand side please follow 'Administrative Boundaries' and then choose 'Other Administrative Boundaries' and finally choose the 'Rural England Prosperity Fund' option).
Projects and Calls
To keep up to date about UKSPF and REPF opportunities, please subscribe to the Ashford Business Newsletter.
As part of the Town Centre Reset Strategy Action Plan, some interventions are being delivered using UKSPF funding.
Projects completed include:
Projects currently underway include:
A Town Centre Accessibility Study has recently been procured.
As part of our commitment to support communities’ health and wellbeing, the Eat Well Spend Less Roadshow events are being delivered using UKSPF funding up to March 2025. The team have completed 3 events already with additional ones planned over the coming months.
Dates for the next Eat Well Spend Less roadshows are announced on our News section.
Having undertaken a highly successful programme previously, with crime prevention initiatives for individuals up to age 25, we are funding a new programme using UKSPF up to March 2025. The programme was publicly tendered in 2022 and has successfully begun its activity, with over 20 individuals reached in 2022-23.
Find out more about the programme delivered by Charlton Athletic Community Trust.
We have established a grant programme to support community organisations seeking to make improvements to their local infrastructure and assets up to March 2025.
Find out more on our Community Grants and Funding page.
The visitor economy and hospitality are important sectors for the borough’s economy that need ongoing support to enhance their offer and drive visitors to destinations and venues. We are using UKSPF funding to March 2025, to provide a programme of business support for destinations and venues as well as supporting the marketing of Ashford’s burgeoning wine sector.
The programme was publicly tendered in 2023 and Visit Kent (Go To Places Ltd) have been appointed to deliver this scheme.
Applications for the "On the Map" programme open on 2 October 2023 and you can find out more on the Visit Kent Business website.
+ Supporting Local Businesses - Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Sector Support Programme
We are establishing a support programme for voluntary organisations and social enterprises or startups that are looking to grow or need help. We are using UKSPF funding up to March 2025 to deliver this programme which was procured in July 2023 and Social Enterprise Kent have been appointed to deliver this scheme.
We will provide further information as soon as we are able to.
We are scoping out the People and Skills activity and will provide further information when we are able to. This programme will likely require to be publicly procured.
We are scoping out a grants programme aimed at supporting businesses in rural areas of the borough to undertake energy efficiency projects or transition from off-grid / petroleum based energy sources.
We will provide further information when we are able to.
Recognising the rise of Electric Vehicles and the lack of EV charging infrastructure in rural areas, we will establish a grant programme for Parish, Town or Community Councils to help install EV chargers in rural areas. We are using REPF funding to March 2025 to provide this support and eligible organisations will be contacted directly once the scheme is ready.
The visitor economy and hospitality are important sectors for the borough’s economy, especially in rural areas, that need ongoing support to enhance their offer and drive visitors to destinations and venues. We are looking to use REPF funding to March 2025, to provide a grant programme aimed at supporting rural food and drink startup businesses and a grant programme aimed at supporting rural tourism or hospitality businesses with productivity or smaller support projects.
We are scoping out this grants programme and will provide further information when we are able to.
For any further queries please email email@example.com.