Suffolk/Norfolk: New Anglia LEP launches bid for cash to boost rural employment

NEW Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership is awaiting the outcome of a bid for part of a �15million pot of Government money to run a pilot project across Suffolk and Norfolk which aims to boost enterprise in rural areas.

The bid, which is backed by local authorities, individual businesses and business groups, involves the creation of up to 14 ”enterprise hubs” across the two counties, with a target of creating 700 new jobs.

New Anglia has submitted the bid under the Rural Growth Network scheme, which it helped to develop last year in partnership with three other predominantly rural LEPs and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Having been involved in the project from the outset, New Anglia had already submitted a proposal but in December Defra announced that the partnership would have to bid for funding as part of a national competition to identify up to six pilot schemes.

Chris Starkie, programme director at New Anglia, said: “We’ve helped developed the concept of rural growth networks with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and three other local enterprise partnerships.

“The aim of our bid is to bring new business to rural areas, kick-start enterprise and help establish new companies in the areas around the hubs.”

Enterprise hubs will be created on under-used business parks, brownfield site or sites with the space to enable businesses to grow within the community of which they are part.

Most Read

New Anglia says it has been working with experienced staff from local authorities across Suffolk and Norfolk to select suitable sites.

Proposed locations include Brandon, Brantham, Clare/Glemsford, Eye, Framlingham, Haleworth, Stanton in Suffolk and Attleborough, Aylsham, Downham Market, Fakenham, Harleston, North Walsham and Swaffham in Norfolk.

If the bid is successful, it could unlock further funding from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) to help small businesses improve their skills, facilities and competitiveness.

Mr Starkie added, “Our bid is a strong one, but competition will be fierce. We expect to hear the outcome of our bid in the next few days.”