Derry City set to be transformed by once-in-a-lifetime investment deal
THE UK Government is on a mission to ‘level up’, with millions of pounds being invested right here in the Derry City and Strabane District Council area to bring jobs and opportunities.
This region will see almost £18m devoted to community sports, infrastructure and skills development under the wide-ranging plans to ensure we all can live longer, more fulfilling lives and benefit from better living standards.
The Levelling Up cash boosts aim to transform the UK by spreading prospects and prosperity to every corner as part of the ambitious proposals to close its longstanding geographical gaps by 2030.
People will also benefit from the joint UK and Northern Ireland £210m investment in the Derry and Strabane Region City Deal.
Unprecedented financial support
The City Deal and Inclusive Future Fund represent the largest ever single investment package by government in the Derry City and Strabane District Council area. The UK Government and Northern Ireland Executive are providing £210m, with Derry City and Strabane District Council and its partners contributing around £40m in additional funding to bring the total investment to some £250m.
This funding will significantly expand the city’s three centres of innovation excellence and enhance our digital connectivity, as well as delivering two transformational city and town centre regeneration schemes and providing skills and employability programmes.
Its impact will be felt long into the future: the rate of employment growth is forecast to triple, with an additional 7,000 jobs by 2032, and gross value added (the measure of the value of goods and services produced in an area) anticipated to have increased by £230m annually by the end of the decade.
The Inclusive Future Fund of £110m will be used to tackle three main issues directly linked to the UK Government’s Levelling Up aspirations:
- Address the causes and effects of long-term physical and social deprivation
- Create jobs and skills opportunities that help people get into employment
- Build on the economic potential of the local university and innovation hubs, making the local area more accessible and attractive to live, visit, study and invest.
ABOVE: Derry Chamber President Aidan O'Kane
Embracing emerging industries
“The Derry and Strabane Region City Deal is a once-in-a-generation investment package which has the potential to level up the entire North West City Region,” says Aidan O’Kane, president of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, adding that it would offer greater opportunities for growth, innovation and development over the next decade.
“From Derry to Strabane and beyond, the £250m City Deal will transform our region’s capabilities in, and reputation for, emerging industries like tech, fintech, health and life sciences, AI, diagnostics, and robotics.”
Further funding for local projects
The first round of awards from the Levelling Up Fund saw more than £49m handed to 11 projects, with around one-third for schemes in the area including:
- £5.6m for the Acorn Farm project for St Columb's Park in Derry-Londonderry to become an urban growing space
- A further £4.22m for the Daisy Field Sports Hub to support local clubs and groups
- £6.47m to deliver community infrastructure in the Castlederg area to spark development and green economic recovery through the far-reaching Derg Active project.
ABOVE: The Guildhall in Derry
The Derry City and Strabane District will benefit from over £1.5m of funding from the Community Renewal Fund, including £192,000 for a new start-up accelerator programme. A collaboration between Derry City and Strabane District Council, Enterprise North West and Strabane Enterprise Agency, the scheme will support up-skilling, entrepreneurialism and job creation.
Protecting air connectivity
In March last year, UK Government officials agreed to an additional £4.3m – split equally between the UK Government and the Northern Ireland Executive – to continue protecting vital regional air services from City of Derry Airport to London until March 2023.
Giving everyone the chance to thrive
The UK is a fantastic success story in so many ways – but not everyone shares equally in that success. This is why the UK Government has launched its Levelling Up plans to transform our country and give everyone the chance to thrive.
It sets bold targets to change the way government operates, improve public services and empower local leaders and communities to narrow the UK's geographical divides by 2030.
Radical new policies will form the heart of the government’s agenda for the rest of the decade, including:
- Narrowing the huge inequalities in healthy life expectancy by 2030 then, by 2035, seeing that life expectancy increased by five years
- Improving public transport with more, faster trains and better links for the UK’s more remote areas
- Faster broadband for everyone – with most of us able to access 5G coverage by 2030
- Making sure our homes are fit for the 21st century.
Other plans aim to restore a sense of local community and belonging where they have been lost by investing in our high streets and town centres.
And there is a focus on growing the private sector to increase productivity and bring better, more well-paid jobs to the parts of the UK that need them most.
So what will Levelling Up mean for you?
Where people live unfairly affects their chances of getting on in life – but what will Levelling Up mean for you?
The proposals will see a whopping £4.8 billion invested in regeneration projects across the UK, with cash being injected into transport, education, broadband and much more.
The plans focus on the success of the whole country: realising the potential of every place and every person across the UK by building on their unique strengths and spreading opportunities for individuals and businesses.
Depending where you are in the UK, Levelling Up will mean different things. In one place, it may mean more affordable or social housing while in another area, it might mean it’s easier to access funding to boost your company, a high street to be proud of, or more green space for families to enjoy.
Find out more and have your say at www.gov.uk/levellingupsurveygov.uk/levellingupsurvey
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