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Gloucestershire Business News

Gloucester projects to share £160,000 of funding

Gloucester's answer to the innovative community food initiative The Long Table is among the projects that have been selected by the city council to receive support from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The project, set to be called The Nest, is one of nine that have been successful in the second phase of grants totalling £160,000, which are being given to schemes to help improve opportunities and quality of life for residents.

In total the city received £1.48m from the government after the council submitted an investment plan identifying the challenges and opportunities, following extensive local consultation. Applications to the fund were assessed by the council working with independent external partner judges.

The Nest, a social enterprise opening on Southgate Street, will receive £32,000. It will be a restaurant and café offering cookery skills for local people as well as a base for start-up food companies.

The project has sought advice from The Long Table in Stroud, the community food initiative that has received national recognition for its Pay As You Can scheme helping people in financial hardship.

Restaurateur Wanja Odhiambo, who specialises in African food, is one of the directors of the community interest company behind it.

She said: "This is something I'm passionate about. Good food shouldn't be just for those who have money, it should be for everyone. If people can't pay we will find a way to offer the food, and will invite families or people who haven't been out for ages and can't afford to go out and socialise.

"We will also offer local people the opportunity in the evenings to run a pop up. They could be the next big thing in Gloucester and offer a cuisine that is not already available in the city."

Other projects that will receive a share of the funding include The Music Works for the Gloucester Music Hub on Kings Square. The initiative supports young people, especially those in challenging circumstances, giving them the skills to help them gain employment and contributing to the cultural life of the city.

St Oswald's Priory, the nationally important ancient monument and alleged resting place of Queen Athelflaed, will receive £16,010 to improve lighting to deter anti-social behaviour. It will also go towards planting around the monument and community engagement work to highlight its significance.

The All Nations Community Centre, built by local members of the Windrush generation, will receive £12,500 for an upgrade to its heating system to help it provide a Warm Space for local people along with other improvements.

Gloucester Park will benefit from new signs and money towards opening a social enterprise café, acting as a base for community engagement and encouraging greater use of the park, while supporting the bid for green flag status.

Jon McGinty, managing director of Gloucester City Council, said: "We're delighted to be able to award this money to some truly inspirational projects taking place across our community. It's fantastic to see there are so many people in our city working hard to support each other and put back into their community through new and innovative ideas."

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government's Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and places, supporting local business, and people and skills.

The nine projects are:

  • The Nest - Southgate Street, Gloucester: £32,000 Social enterprise: Restaurant, Café and Product Showcase, and Training and Start-Up Hub.
  • Music Works - Kings Square: £10,000 The Gloucester Music Hub aims to impact over 2,000 young people particularly those facing challenges, using music as a transformative tool.
  • The Venture Community Hub: £17,280 Redevelop adventure playground and play hut building into a sustainable, multi purpose hub.
  • Community Roots CIC - Social enterprise, Gloucester Park: £16,275 Training volunteers to run the café, which will offer affordable food and drink and act as a base for community engagement.
  • All Nations Community Centre: £12,500 Improved heating system, providing more efficient heating of the building which acts as a Warm Space and community hub.
  • Gloucester Park: £16,010: New and additional signage to encourage greater use of the park and to discourage anti-social behaviour.
  • Friendship Café, Gloucester: £30,000 Essential maintenance and improvements to the security of the building.
  • St Oswalds:  £16,010:Install lighting, CCTV, improve landscaping and community engagement.
  • Jolt/Gloucester Culture Trust - Kings Square: £9,924 Work to improve access and facilities for people with disabilities at start up business incubator Jolt which supports over 70 businesses.

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